I’m always inclined to view synth-based arrangements and digital production tricks as efforts to cover up for a lack of ideas and talent, but that certainly isn’t always the case — even if it tended to be during my youth during the now-distant ’80s, the era most frequently referenced by today’s crop of keyboard-toting laptop studio enthusiasts.
What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t want to love SLK‘s “Be,” but it wasn’t my fault, and I have since come around.
The best heavily programmed pop songs strike sparks by hitting all those digital right angles against the analog warmth of human sound, and that’s “Be” in a nutshell — this track is done up with all manner of synthy gimmickry, but in the center of it all sits SLK’s smoky wraith of a voice, and there’s a ton of sweet tension between the extremes. It doesn’t hurt that the whole thing is coolly atmospheric, or that it boasts a pop anthem’s widescreen chorus, but all that aside, “Be” rests on the strength of SLK’s vocals, and they’re more than up to the challenge. Look for her upcoming EP, Form, coming in late May.