Swedish/Ugandan singer-songwriter Pheeyownah released her debut album on May 3 titled SILVER via Labrador Records.
Today marks the arrival of her newest full length release and I’ll be jotting down thoughts as I listen to some of the tracks. Prior to listening, I will point out that there are lots of artistic production choices which will make or break the record depending on your tastes. I found the risks helped me enjoy the record because it just isn’t something you hear everyday and I thought that was innovative.
The “Intro” is a soundscape with larger than life electronic filtering creating an expansive sound. Very cinematic, but not totally sure where I’m being led sonically yet.
“Silver” was one of the first singles released in anticipation of the full length. It opens with some of same filters that are joined by a voice that pans back and forth in stereo to create a rising feeling that leads into the first lyrics. The first lyrics sound somewhat like a come down from a fight in a vulnerable and hurt, but not angry, way. The lyrics turn aggressive as Pheeyownah asks the person she’s singing to for silver, even though after the filter that is used to double her voice a couple octaves down she says she knows she is worth the gold defiantly. Pheeyownah then goes on to call the person she is singing about lucky. The chorus is thick with reverb and layers of vocals that are washed out. In the second verse, Pheeyownah tells the subject not to get defensive, though she is hurt about doing her best for nothing. The lyrics, while sometimes straying away from the focus, have a clear takeaway in terms of anger and hurt at the current playing field of opportunity. Sonically, “Silver” is much like the introductory track in terms of large programmed synths with the addition of layers of vocals.
“Urchin Mind” is a quick philosophical interlude that stays true to the overarching theme of empowerment before “Vulnerable” starts. “Vulnerable” is epic in the way the underwater sounding synths swell and dance with the reverb. Overall, this record has tons of epic panning going on. “At Ease” is another interlude, I would say there are too many interludes, but in this scenario they really help tie the whole record together.
Silver finishes up with “Gold”, way cool. I think “Gold” was probably my favorite track with bouncing repetitive rhythms that stuck with me.
I hope you enjoyed some of my thoughts.
MORE ON Pheeyownah:
Multi-instrumentalist & dancer Pheeyownahs parents fled Uganda for Sweden in the 1980s where Pheeyownah joined the dance group Juck provoking contemporary debates on gender, sexuality, femininity and ethnicity by moving in ways previously seen as unconventional for a woman.
“With something as simple as hip movement, Juck demands their space and the audinece’s attention; The movement develops into different forms and intensity and becomes a manifestation of female sexuality and liberation from the male gaze.” – https://www.juck.org/about.