Vanessa Elisha looks inward on ‘Dark & Lonely’
Sensuous crooner VANESSA ELISHA has perked our ears again, following up a single release this year, a stellar Drake cover, with another emotional track. Made with the help of long time collaborator, producer XXYYXX, ‘Dark & Lonely’ is a deep, introspective RnB tune.
Her subdued but strong performance is reminiscent of vocalist Jhene Aiko, as her voice, brimming with emotion, floats over the electronic beat. Under the vocals, the production is just as subdued, showing off the work that Elisha can do. Simple piano chords are the backbone of this track, with RnB percussion layered on top with classic use of speedy repeated hats and kicks emphasising the swing of the beat. XXYYXX is in usual form here, a natural trip hop producer bringing his downtempo vibes on ‘Dark & Lonely’.
Of the lyrics, the song itself is apologetic but never overly specific, leaving it open to interpretation. Elisha herself has said that for her, “It’s about being comfortable as an introverted loner, and the judgement that comes from that.” She keeps her composure throughout the emotional performance which features a light autotuned touch that leaves a few notes warbled and brings another sound texture to this track.
The effects on the vocals reflect more of this meaning as the warping, layering with manipulation and reversing samples reflecting the “changing moods, changing tides, pushing people away, bringing them back in, being happy in loneliness, being sad in loneliness” messy feelings Elisha associates with the track.
Vanessa Elisha has found the yin to her yang with XXYYXX, and with this second release for the year they seem to have hit their stride. Hopefully we will be seeing more releases from this dream team later in the year.
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL