LA-based singer Kelela just dropped "The Message," a brand new song and video to satiate since her excellent 2013 album Cut 4 Me. It's an old song, she says, but it's to preview a new EP, out in May, called Hallucinogen. This new track was produced by Arca. She notes in a press release:

I met Alejandro [Arca] on a boat in August of 2012. We sought one another out across a dance floor and within 5 minutes agreed to meet each other as soon as possible to collaborate. I had one song released to my name and had just heard one of his mixes, but we knew we'd found something in one another. We spent the next three days, 14 hours a day talking about our artistic visions and how it intersected with our personal lives, making songs that reflected that while dancing around the room to let it all out. About 5 or 6 demos were born out of these three days.

"A Message" is one of the demos that came from those sessions and it speaks to the despair that I was experiencing at the time.

In the video, she is cast in various hues of light and glistens, which reminds me yet again that my biggest material goal in life is to one day own (or just shower in) a rave shower. Then the lights converge and she becomes her own animé character. It's practically a cappella for Arca's minimal production, and one of the best things about Kelela is when her clear vocals are layered upon layers in woozy vehemence. Kelela is compared to Aaliyah a bit to varying degrees of correctness (come on, not all lilting-voiced black girls sound like freaking Aaliyah, people). But the melody's proximity to "One in a Million"—and inverse of its message—seem like this time, it was on purpose, and it's working.


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.

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