Mini album review: Sky Ferreira - As if!


Sky is the young girl who many have their eyes on to make pop a little more interesting, which bodes well for the young starlet; but also puts a great deal of pressure on her. Which is why its just as well her first official non-single release is a mini album, as opposed to a long player.

Sky has always towed that line between being a young rebel full of angst, yet harboring a love for pop. And much of her pre-As if! material was a bit rough around the edges. Still catchy and chartable, yet something those who like their artists underground and unsigned can like without feeling as though they've become some mindless follower who likes what rides high in the charts. But As if! flips all of this on its head and turns Sky into into more of that girl who sounds a bit like everyone else.

"Sex rules" is all out, in your face, throw your hands in the air whilst whipping a bit of hair (which probably isn't even yours) bubblegum pop. Which I'm sure had some of Sky's earlier fans throwing up a little in their own mouths amidst firm belief that Sky was 'better than this shit'. Bastardization aside, "Sex rules" is a fun song. But it is a throwaway song, and a terrible choice for a lead single. The word 'sex' being in its title already limits the radio airplay this song will receive. And I'm sure mothers will object to an only just turned 18 year old girl declaring how awesome sex is and that you're missing out if you haven't had it yet. Sky is pretty much echoing the sentiments of every 17 to 18 year old who has had some good sex; because let's face it - if you've been getting it good, sex does rule. But a declaration of it on a song so blatantly from a girl so young may not sit well with some. Sure, Britney was pussy galore'ing it up in her "Oops!...I did it again" music video at the same age. But selling sex as a teen is all about treading that line. And Sky doesn't so much tread it the line as she does dry hump it.

"99 tears" is pop perfection. Capitalizing on what made "Sex rules" work and stripping away what didn't. It also features the most f**ked up (in the best possible way) sounding intro I've heard on a pop record in yonks! The whole thing i like 80's Madonna, Janet Jackson and Cameo high on Skittles. Everything about this song is so on point that it's just ridiculous. Sky could have a Summer smash hit with "99 tears" so easy if her label releases it at the right time and shoots a hot video for it; with lots of prancing around, hair blowing, cut off denim's, Chuck Taylor's, a ghetto blaster and some dance steps. She could also have a sizeable shot at a hit in Japan with this too, as it's very Yasutaka-esque and in line with what J-chicks with limited vocals usually litter the Oricon charts around the Summer season.

"Traces" is as close to a ballad as you're going to get on As if! And despite circulating on the Internet for a good while, nothing has really changed in the final mix. No bad thing. Because "Traces" was perfect as it was. 'If it ain't broke' 'n all that. The song creeps along during the verses with a hauntingly distant rolling piano and violins, before colliding head first into a wall of unstable sounding bass, heavy kicks and soaring strings for the hook. Aurually it's a beast of a song.

"Haters anonymous" features your typical Bloodshy & Avant juxtopositions. Something dirty and a bit left field, featuring a mainstream sheen. The hook is your early 90's, daytime TV-esque sing-a-long. But the verses dip into a grimey Dr. Oizo style bounce of stuttered basslines which act as the backdrop for Sky reciting on the verses. It's a great song which is easy to get into despite the seemingly unconventional style of it.

"108" is the weakest song on the album, because there's just nothing to it. As good as Bloodshy & Avant's production is and having their hand on every knob in the studio to f**k with Sky's vocals; the song just goes nowhere. This would make a cool background song for a scene in a season finale of 90210, but that's about all this song is good for.

Sky's debut mini album is a very consistent affair. The whole thing is predominantly 80's in its sound, yet with contemporary twists in the vocal production. "One" was just the tip of the iceberg as far as vocal production on Sky's vocals go. As if! see's Sky's vocals chopped to pieces for hooks and really messed with. But it never detracts from the songs or feels greatly overdone, because Sky's personality and vocal nuances still manage to come through on the song, unlike a fair few of Britney's more recent recordings. And it causes the songs to sound to sharp, that they wouldn't work any other way.

As if!'s purpose is to help give Sky enough traction in the market to get a full length release off the ground and out. And the mini album features enough strong single worthy songs on it to get milked and garner Sky a bigger fanbase. But some of Sky's earlier fans who favoured her more edgy angst ridden leaks may feel as though she sold out with this release; hoping she would have tapped more into songs such as "Traces" and "Haters anonymous" and left the rest of the pop fluff to the other bitches they cast aside in her favour. Although many seem to forget exactly how old Sky is, and that she is still a young girl. And many of the songs on this release are probably a better reflection of that than some of her material which has been leaking over the past year.

The decision to tap into the 80's bubblegum pop so strongly with this release could end up hurting Sky though, because hearing the likes of "Sex rules" or "99 tears" on the radio back-to-back with something from Katy Perry or Willow Smith; you'd be hard pressed to tell who Sky is and what is so special about her. Omitting "One" from this release was a bold move. Not only was "One" a great song. But it's probably the only song of Sky's that mainstream pop listeners have heard, with no idea who even sang it. So to remove a song which acts as a point of reference for such a new artist seems questionable to me. "One" also would have acted as a nice tether between the 80's bubblegum jams and the more alternative leaning songs; as it brilliantly featured the best of both.

Taking the mini album for what it is, As if! is a nice little package showcasing just about enough of Sky's quirks that got her such attention in the first place. Yet also showing that she has the adaptability and dexterity to grace catchy pop records primed for radio as well, if not better than her peers and even a couple of the veterans. Her balancing act may not have worked all that well on this release, but As if! is still a well produced mini album with a couple of smash hit worthy songs.


Mini-album highlights:
■ Traces
■ Haters anonymous
■ 99 tears J's fave

2 comments:

  1. Thank GOD the full version of "99 tears" is finally out there! I have played that 30 second snippet on Amazon about 5 billion times!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. *LMAO* I'm glad I wasn't the only one ;)

    ReplyDelete

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