The Chicago singer-songwriter Ravyn Lenae is an R&B prodigy with a magical, high-pitched voice. The 18-year-old’s vocals have been a secret weapon for many of her hometown collaborators, including Mick Jenkins and Noname. On her latest solo single, the Steve Lacy-produced “Sticky,” she slips into her own version of bubblegum pop with a bite.
“Sticky” is a steamy affair with a slinky R&B beat, but Lenae sounds like a playfully annoyed lover, glued into a relationship that‘s falling apart. She uses Lacy’s wide-open production—electric organ and psychedelic guitar strums—to experiment with her vocals. Lenae delivers the boppy refrain—”What did you do?/Looking confused”—in a beautiful but piercing falsetto, then whispers promises to someone who clearly keeps breaking their own. The pacing mirrors all the frantic ups and downs of a teetering relationship, with Lenae storming around Lacy’s instrumental, changing her tone and her mind over and over again. Even through all this relationship drama, Lenae makes falling out sound very fun. (via Pitchwork)