In a week dominated by major label and major artist releases, Little Simz was able to stand tall and free from the crowd with an astonishing new project. I’ve been a fan of her music since the release of her excellent debut project back in 2015 titled A Curious Tale of Trials + Persons, and have since fallen in love with her animated, poetically rich and aesthetically beautiful sound. Her last album GREY Area was at the time of its release, her best project to date. It was short, punchy and memorable body of work that got her a Mercury Prize nomination in 2019, and helped her propel her artistry even further, well beyond her already growing UK-led fanbase. With hard-hitting, bass-heavy compositions and empowering and personal stories on love, growth and her community as a whole, that album is just so poignant and eloquent in its delivery and execution. I’ve been listening to it actively since then, so when she revealed that she was working on a brand new album, just know that I was super excited to hear it. And, well… the 1 hour 6 minute masterpiece that is Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is equally, if not more emotionally poignant and bold than anything she has released to date.
The album kicks off with a bang. “Introvert” is a 6-minute masterpiece that captures the grandiosity and anthemic potential Little Simz has. With the intensity of the opening brass notes that kick things off, the tracks delves into these crazy guitar-led melodies and punchy drums, and Little Simz talking that spiritual, self-loving message that has helped her get to the point at where she is right now. A quick but necessary shoutout to the featured artists on this album, who only elevate the quality of the music. Cleo Sol and Little Simz never miss (their incredible collab on GREY Area “Selfish” is an all-time track), and “Woman” is no different. Cleo Sol’s soothing vocals, backed by lavish instrumentation makes for such a soulful and groovy listen. It’s an empowering track celebrating women and heritage in all its glory, painting a vivid picture of true power and personal freedom. “Point and Kill” featuring Obongjayar is another clear standout for me. The tribal drums, incredibly dominant basslines give way for uniquely raw and soulful vocals from the incredible singer to steal the show. The groove-ridden instrumental is met with fiercely piercing verses from Little Simz, who talks about how her being Yoruba has never made her fear anybody, standing proud and tall over personal struggles she may be facing that prevent her from reaching the heights of greatness she wants to achieve. Her music just feels so free-spirited and soulful on this album. It’s as if this was the album she was working towards her whole life. There are softer, sweeter sides to the album, such as the incredibly produced “Two Worlds Apart” (I’m always in love with lush soul samples on tracks), and “Little Q, Pt. 1” (and its opening “Interlude”), has a sweet hook, as well as a few personal and revealing stories on her childhood. Her ability to create vivid images and stories is truly inspiring, and she’s truly one of a kind when it comes to storytelling. And she has the best partnership with producer Inflo, who brings a live band with him to create an animated, lively and intricate soundscape that is equally as punchy as it is ethereal. “Speed” has these heavy, tribal drums and this infectious synth lead that dominates the energy of this track. Little Simz proclaims “I’m already a legend, you should humble your speech”. This commanding verse is reminiscent of her more dominant and fast-paced moments on GREY Area, as she brings a confidence and personality that just exudes excellence. “Rollin Stone” is another heavy and hard-hitting track, with industrial almost techno beat, and Little Simz flows effortlessly over it. The orchestral “Standing Ovation” is about celebrating greatness and being in control of one’s fate, making ancestors proud, with a triumphant sound that demands attention. She is the truth, and uplifts everyone who is struggling in some capacity, whether due to a lack of opportunities or negative impacts of the the economic and social system around them. It’s an interesting contrast with the title “Sometimes I Might Be Introvert” and the album cover, which sees her crouching down under a table or some sort of ceiling. Its slightly claustrophobic cover is like a cocoon, and Little Simz is blossoming beyond the struggles and the lack of recognition she (and all of us) feel she’s had since she’s started this journey. She really doesn’t hold back on this album, bringing a more reflective, soulful aura to an otherwise honest and piercing project. But it also shows her going back to her musical roots. Afrobeat influences are sprinkled throughout perfectly on this album. “Fear No Man” is an example of this, with heavy drumming and wind instrumentation throughout that is so energetic and lively. “Point and Kill”, mentioned earlier also has the same tribal groove. There’s also a pure electro-funk track here with “Protect My Energy”. Thick beats and bass grooves, quirky synths throughout, and Little Simz pretty much sings throughout the entire track, and tell you what, she’s quite a capable vocalist too! The two reflective closers “How Did You Get Here” and “Miss Understood” are so soulful and beautiful. Angelic keys, synths and atmospheric auras in both tracks, and Little Simz’ introspective thoughts on self, home, family and what success means to her. She’s so honest with her thoughts and I just live every second of it because she’s really able to bring an energy and charisma to this album that I haven’t heard from her, at least to this extent before.
On Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Little Simz sets a new bar of expectation for quality and timeless music. Each individual track brings its own unique sound and quality, and with each and every track, Simz creates such poignant and colourful stories, taken from her experiences and the people around her. Her music is musically vast, raw and incredibly engaging, demanding attention at every turn. She is the truth, and this is an album worth supporting.