Monday, September 10, 2018

Sad Girl | Sasha Sloan



The “sad girl” title has been ironed onto every female pop act that veers even slightly left of center since the inception of viral pop. The label is dangerous to an extent, as it homogenizes millennial musicians who fall somewhere between Britney Spears and Adele into one lump sum of saturated synthesizers. But Sasha Sloan, a singer-songwriter who is one of the newest additions to the RCA Records roster, has no problem being a Sad Girl.

Her musical background was rooted strictly in jazz music before a pop publishing deal fell into her lap, and she gravitates towards artists like Amy Winehouse and Regina Spektor – not that her debut extended play clues listeners into any of that at first listen. Drenched in vocoders and drum machines, it’s an undoubtedly 2018 pop release. But beneath the sheen are well-composed pop songs, regardless of sonic aesthetics.

Sloan’s breakthrough track, “Normal,” is her most conventionally infectious. It works itself up from hazy guitars to a subtle groove. “Ready Yet,” her first single as a solo recording artist, successfully undertakes an electronic dance stunt, twiddling its vocal line with a harp-impersonating synthesizer line. It, like standout track “Fall,” capitalizes on Sloan’s ability to finesse a vocal run: On both tracks, her voice fluxes and flutters at all the right times.

Although a risky stylistic move, an overpowering vocoder intensifies the emotionality of “Here,” the extended play’s closing ballad; similar remarks can be made of “Fall,” as vocoders are implemented only at key moments of its sweeping vocal harmonies. But a few bold choices, a moody atmosphere, and solid songwriting elevate Sasha Sloan toward the top of her class of do-it-yourself viral musicians – you know, the sad girls.

Sad Girl is now available under RCA Records.

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Maira Gall