With a flurry of gilded piano notes to guide her, New York City-based pop singer Severine sings of an impossible kind of love in her song “Lose Myself,” one of the highlights from her new album Feel the Rain. She poetically croons to us that she wants to get lost in the abyss that is romance, throw her inhibitions to the wayside and finally know what it is to be ultimately in love with someone. Her sexy command of the microphone is only eclipsed by the tenacity of her melodic sway, which seems to overpower everything else in the track. It’s but a sampling of what listeners can expect in the singer/songwriter’s debut LP, which critics from one side of the country to the next can’t seem to stop talking about at the moment.
Severine has a lot in common with some of pop’s greatest legends, but her music isn’t a cheap recreation of the iconic music of yesteryear. She combines elements from classic R&B, jazz standards, 80s pop wistfulness and alternative rock’s self-aware narratives to make a complete, angular style that is all her own and not instantly reminiscent of her influences. I get the idea that Feel the Rain is about more than establishing her sound; it’s about introducing her artistic profile to the world in a more sprawling format than a single could provide. Severine absolutely hit the ball out of the park with this record, and finding significant flaw within either the production or the songcraft is quite challenging to say the least.
“Not Obsessed” exhibits Severine’s more humble side, demonstrated by the minimalism in the song’s structure and reiterated in its authentic lyrical admissions. She proves to us that she can be a storyteller in the folk tradition while still directing some of the slickest beats in the game, and this track more than any other points the limelight at her ability to be wickedly earnest and playful, even when her verses suggest mischievousness and bad behavior. “Not Obsessed” might be my favorite song from Feel the Rain, but then again it’s awfully hard to pick amongst this collection of tracks, none of which boast any filler or predictable dribble for us to promptly skip over. It’s a thoroughly captivating album from beginning to end, which isn’t all that common among debuts (or for that matter, any records nowadays).
My gut tells me that following the release of Feel the Rain at the end of October, Severine is going to be flooded with offers to support a litany of well-known performers on tour, and I think she’s going to do extremely well in the live setting. Right now there isn’t an artist recording or performing in the United States that can come close to matching her pointed lyrical skillset nor her dynamic versatility as a singer, which I believe will lead her to being a top-billed act a lot sooner than some might expect. She’s got the chops to go a long way in this business, and as far as I’m concerned she couldn’t have kicked off her career any better than with an album as focused and enjoyable as Feel the Rain.