Little Simz – GREY area Album Review

Little Simz – GREY area

Released: 1 March 2019

little simz grey area album review
GREY area is a nice treat from U.K.-based rhymer Little Simz, whose Age 101 project caught my eye in 2015.

Tracklist

Offence: 3.25/5

Boss: 4/5

Selfish ft Cleo Soul: 4.5/5

Wounds ft Chronixx: 4/5

Venom: 3.75/5

101 FM: 4.5/5

Pressure ft Little Dragon: 4/5

Therapy: 4.25/5 (for some reason, the cadence of these drums reminds me of Bill Withers “Lovely Day)

Sherbert Sunset: 4.5/5

Flowers ft Michael Kiwanuka: 4.5/5

TOTAL: 4.125/5

★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.

Critical Breakdown

     GREY area features mature content in both lyric and production. Production-wise, there’s musical integrity with instrumentation leading a number of the songs ala the violin on “Wounds” and the saxophone on “Flowers”. The instrumentation adds to the moods that Simz encapsulates via lyric.

Lyrically, Simz is introspective all throughout GREY area; she digs deep into relationship traumas, including discovering that her then-boyfriend secretly got another woman pregnant on “Sherbert Sunset”. Simz releases the anguish from that event on other songs such as “Boss” where she screams: “Stop fucking with my heart/ Nigga you was my dream fool/ Now you a man-hoe/“.

Beyond relationship woes, Simz touches on growing up in the UK “endz” on “101 FM“, displays her storytelling skills on “Therapy” and touches deep, fatalistic introspection on “Flowers“. There’s even a clever Amy Winehouse reference on “Flowers” that adds to the track’s depressive theme:

“Like I didn’t just Back to Black it

Love was my losin’ game, let’s just call a spade a spade”

Critiques

     I thoroughly enjoyed this project, but my sole critique is the choice of intro. “Offence”, an upbeat display of flow and rhyme scheme, leads the album. In my opinion, “Boss” would’ve been a better intro. “Offence” is cool, but probably the weakest song on the project, and introspectively, it has much less meaning than the rest of the songs. It’s not a good way to lead into this particular album. Little Simz flows are cool on the song, but “Offence” will have you thinking the album is gonna be one way, when it’s really not. It is the outlier on this project and may turn listeners away at the beginning.

VERDICT

    ★★★★ OGREY area listeners are treated the opportunity to understand: WHO is Little Simz? And WHY is she this way? The album is in-depth and provides personal anecdotes, yet it is not too densely packed or in-your-face (forced). Her personal stories mixed with intentional production makes this out to be one of the best projects of 2019, so far.

– @TOP5RAPWEBSITE

Rating Categories:
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.

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