Album Review: Seinabo Sey – Pretend

Seinabo Sey pretend cover

Attitude and emotions on Seinabo Sey’s soulful debut album
Seinabo Sey came seemingly out of nowhere when her single ‘Younger’ became an international hit. The track gained her rave reviews and recognition in her home country Sweden, but did not really take off over the borders until the hot Norwegian producer Kygo remixed the track (not that it really needed a remix, but it helped her career internationally so why not?). It was number 1 in Norway for weeks and other countries showed some love as well. After the release of the EP’s For Madeleine and For Maudo, dedicated to and named after her parents, it is finally time for her first full length record called Pretend, released on the 23rd of October.

It is not easy to describe Seinabo’s blending of different styles into a completely unique sound. Her voice is deep and soulful, the hooks are often poppy and the productions have some hints of hip hop, elctro and funk to them as well. ‘Younger’ already showed how she had carved out an original sound and while listening to Pretend you will realize that there is nobody else around that sounds like her, which is a hard thing to achieve on your first record. The 25 year old singer-songwriter co-wrote every track herself and mainly worked with producer Magnus Lidehäll.

Because the two EP’s were already released, there are only five brand new songs on the album for the people who already followed her, but in this context, the tracks all sound even more impressive. The attitude driven ‘Hard Time’ and ‘Pistols At Down’ are the album’s most ‘in your face’ moments with confident lyrics and banging beats. She does the complete opposite on the heartbreaking, and probably the most romantic song I heard in ages, ‘Poetic’. Title track ‘Pretend’ is a more hopeful and uplifting moment, both in lyrics and sound, about somebody telling her the end of the world is near. “Guess then these troubles are out of my hands, guess then I’m free to use them to clap and dance”, she declares.

This is a good example of the wise and well thought out lyrics Seinabo presents on her debut album. She truly is an old soul in a young body and an outstanding songwriter. On the haunting and moody ballad ‘Sorry’ she opens with the lines: “Flowers in my garden die faster than they grow, slowly as they wither I reap the seeds I sow.” They set the tone for an honest and right from the heart track. On new track ‘Ruin’ her talents beautifully come together. The vibe is soulful, the production fresh, the hooks are catchy and radio friendly and the lyrics once again mature and poetic. “I’m just a brick in your ruin of love”, she sadly repeats a few times. She actually build the first brick to a promising career here with this glorious debut album!

Must listen: Hard Time, Sorry, Ruin, Pretend, Poetic (as you probably have heard ‘Younger’ already)

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