Oh No


Sometimes you need to work out your stresses the most productive way you know how: by channeling it through the expressive escape of pop, where a deceptively upbeat vibe can act more as a goal to strive for than a default state to revel in. And with her hyperpop-adjacent but comparatively austere sense of club-mode R&B/bass music hybridization — co-produced with the assistance of Junior Boys founding member Jeremy Greenspan — she’s assembled a set that expresses a collective-ready catharsis that’s best transmuted into dancefloor release. Maybe that leaves early impressions of lyrical-musical dissonance, or at least ironic juxtaposition. But that’s not as new a concept as the shift in dance-music scope that Lanza helms here, where her poly-genre freedom works because she’s got a voice made for all of them. The glowing electro-boogie of “VV Violence” coats a serrated knife with a layer of glittery candy paint over (“I’m working all day long/For the love I never see/Yeah I say it to your face/But it doesn’t mean a thing”), snapping from chirpy Ke$ha taunts to emotively pained freestyle. The downtempo synthpop throwback of “I Talk BB” floats between sparse Minneapolis Sound digi-funk and labelmate Cooly G’s post-dubstep soul, her falsetto threatening to crack but never wavering, even as she sings about wanting to avoid her lover’s eye contact. That face-to-face connection is found in “It Means I Love You,” which corrals the typically frenetic rhythms of juke through a sample of a South African Shangaan electro track that Lanza’s pitched-up voice turns into a declaration of love that hits like an ultimatum. Those are just a few highlights on a joyously frustration-venting club-pop classic of an album, Lanza emerging here as a versatile, evocative voice that finds herself by finding a lot of other selves.

Nate Patrin