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Is ‘Sometimes I might be introvert’ the best album of 2021?

By SEC Newgate team
02 November 2021

By Simon Gentry

The first minute or two was enough to convince me that I was listening to something quite extraordinary.  The next 64 minutes, 19 songs in all, revealed an artist with few peers in British music.  A musician, actress, multiple award winner and musical polymath, Little Simz is astonishing. ‘Sometimes I might be introvert’ is, by my estimation anyway, the album of the year.  Superbly crafted, fresh, original, eclectic and exciting, the album is unique, hugely personal, but a commentary on modern British life too.

More spoken word than rap, this is Little Simz’ fourth studio album, with layers of poetry, American 80s R&B, Nigerian rhythms and English pop.  As an artist, she fearlessly explores her relationships with her parents, her Britishness, her Nigerian heritage, love, parenthood, childhood, violence, feminism and how our internal struggles shape the way we interact with the world.  The album is autobiographical, but there are some interesting guests who often play parts - father, mother, sisters, cousins - who populate this extraordinary young woman’s life.   It’s hard to pick a single outstanding track out of the 19, largely because, like her earlier album, ‘Stillness in Wonderland’ which was based on in Alice in Wonderland, it’s what we used to describe as a concept album.  It loosely explores a theme, with each song needing the others to gain poignance and relevance.

The pandemic lockdown saw a dearth of new releases as artists decided not to release new material as they could not support them live.  The slow, sputtering end to the pandemic has seen the music scene rush wildly back to life.  Venues are filled to bursting with artists thrilled to be back in front of appreciative audiences, and audiences ecstatic to be back listening to live music again.  I was aware of Little Simz previous albums but had not paid much attention until she burst onto the stage at a Gorillaz gig last month. She collaborated with Gorillas on their 2017 Humanz tour, leading the vocals on ‘Garage Palace’, but as she bounced into the stage at the O2 she transformed the venue, like an electric charge, setting the 25,000-strong audience alight, which is no mean feat.  She kicks off a tour later this month and I have tickets!  

I strongly recommend finding yourself an hour to explore this amazing work.