Nilüfer Yanya continues to calmly be ahead of the curve as an artist. Her critically-acclaimed debut Miss Universe effortlessly integrated fringe styles like jazz, post-punk, latin, indie rock, folk, and neo-soul into her offbeat but poised pop lingo. You could also argue the record’s flirtations with late 90s/early 2000s pop productions left the blueprint for albums such as Lorde’s Solar Power.
Releasing the EP Feeling Lucky? last year, Nilüfer Yanya continued proving her mastery of subtle, but wholly exciting sonic left turns. Not to mention a knack for unconventional album sequencing: most artists would put a song like “Angels” as the album closer instead of halfway in.
Yanya’s new single “Stabilise” – the first glimpse of upcoming second album PAINLESS – is a bona fide post-punk banger laced with subtle textures that feel more akin to UK garage. The guitars that start at 0:44 awaken a nostalgia towards the days of Bloc Party and Interpol, but within the song, they inhabit a bold, penetrating twist.
“I’m not waiting for the one to save me”, she sings with that effortlessly cool, slightly dark vocal delivery. In the Molly Daniel-directed music video, Yanya is constantly moving: jogging through the dreary neighborhoods, dancing in the club, brooding in the backseat of a car, cycling restlessly across the streets. It aligns perfectly with the crisp, gyrating pulse of the song: to maintain a sense of composure and sanity within the city’s constant web of impulses, one has to either surrender to its slipstream or carve an individual path through it.
“I was really thinking about your surroundings and how much they influence or change your perception of things,” Yanya says of “Stabilise”, “A lot of the city is just grey and concrete, there’s no escape. People don’t leave the city their whole lives, wherever they’re from. It’s weird because the chorus is about going nowhere and I really didn’t want that [originally] but it was like the song was trying to tell me something.”
As for PAINLESS, Yanya promises a less beating-around-the-bush, more open-hearted lyrical approach. “I think it’s more open about that in a way that Miss Universe wasn’t because there’s so many cloaks and sleeves with the concept I built around it. I’m not as scared to admit my feelings”.