Music Review: Katy B – Little Red
After breaking out in 2011 with her debut album On a Mission, powered by the infectious single Katy on a Mission, Katy B returns with her second full length studio album Little Red. Since the release of the London born artist’s first album, the EDM genre has grown exponentially in popularity with acts such as Disclosure and Rudimental spearheading the genre with a fusion of House, Electro, Dubstep, Drum & Bass and UK Garage. Katy B used a similar sound on her debut album and an argument can be made that On a Mission pioneered the way for a new wave of English Dance acts. Partnering with long time collaborate and producer Geeneus, the duo attempt to recreate the magic that brought On a Mission success and establish Katy B at the forefront of the genre with the likes of Disclosure and Rudimental.
Right from the outset Katy B sets the tone of the album with the opening tracks Next Thing which is infectiously catchy and the club inspired 5AM that picks up where On a Mission left off. Katy B does well not to reinvent the wheel with these opening tracks; avoiding the repetitive pitfalls that many popular EDM tracks that have a tendency to suffer from leading them to become tiresome quickly.
The following track, Aaliyah, has the same tempo and overall funky elements as the previous two songs however the lyrics to the song come across as amateurish and detract from what the song could have been. Crying for no Reason takes a step back from the previous club orientated tracks and slows down the tempo with a ballad which sounds more suited to an artist like Emeli Sande, failing to leave a lasting impression. The Peckham artist returns to her staple sound with I Like You, with an upbeat electro dance floor filler.
All My Lovin’ provides an interesting turn of events on the album with RnB and Dubstep characteristics blended into the production while Katy B belts out a powerful vocal performance providing the highlight track of the album.
Another RnB inspired track is the Sampha assisted Play which, for a lack of better words, is a playful song full of personality but again failing to make a memorable impact. Tumbling Down continues with an RnB based vocal but this time over a house influenced beat which is highly reminiscent of the early 2000’s style RnB, sounding like a throwback from the RnB that Timbaland and Aaliyah revolutionised.
Everything returns to the faster paced, funky vibe that is prominent throughout the album and is a solid song which shows no discernable improvement from the filler tracks from On a Mission, which is an issue throughout the album. The final track Still returns to the ballad style that she adopts in Crying for no Reason but unfortunately suffers from the same underwhelming impression, resulting in a somewhat disappointing finale to the album.
There is saying, ‘If you have never before eaten a donut and then eat two in a day, the first will taste better’. The same can be said for Katy B’s two albums. Little Red sees Katy B suffer from her own success as she fails to recreate and build on the excitement of her debut. From a technical standpoint however, Little Red is just as good, if not better, than On a Mission. Little Red is simply not as innovative as On a Mission was but offers a far better production and improved vocal performance from Katy B. The introduction of RnB manages to keep the music fresh and elude the repetitiveness of EDM instrumentals which was a fundamental flaw on her debut album. The Londoner also manages to showcase her talent beyond what we saw on On A Mission by stepping out of her comfort zone and creating balled styled songs such as Emotion. The song writing throughout the album leaves a little to be desired but is catchy nevertheless.
How do you feel about this album? An Improvement to On A Mission or a step backwards? Leave your comments and let us know.