Home Music Kacy Hill: Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again

Kacy Hill: Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again

Getting signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label was both a blessing and curse for Kacy Hill. The model turned dancer turned singer songwriter was performing as a backup dancer on the Yeezus Tour when she released her debut single “Experience.” Kanye was given the track and, captivated by Kacy’s hypnotizing falsetto and the song’s warped electronic production, he signed Hill on the spot.

The following year Hill drew attention for her feature on Travis Scott’s “90210” and her dubby, power pop EP “Bloo,” and in 2017 she released her debut full length. Like A Woman showed glimpses of brilliance, such as the cinematic drama of “Clarity” and the dazed production on “Keep Me Sane,” but the record’s attempts at piano ballads tinged with minimalist dub beats and string sections too often failed to introduce anything new and exciting. Kacy was pulling her punches.

It’s unclear just how much influence Hill’s label had on her first album. In multiple interviews she has hinted at a struggle for the attention of Kanye West, who was billed as executive producer on Like A Woman. Kacy further elaborated that she “was so eager for other people’s validations that I wasn’t even really listening to if I liked something.” Regardless of what was going on behind the scenes, audiences bombarded Hill with expectations of being both the latest addition to Kanye’s canon and G.O.O.D. Music’s headlining non-hip-hop experiment.

Hill got out of her deal with G.O.O.D. Music last year, and all signs pointed towards a sophomore effort that, as she describes, “is exactly what I wanted to make and exactly what I wanted to say.” While the singer may be in the driver’s seat now, her improved focus on Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again doesn’t add much more intrigue or originality to her flat sound. The airy production on “Just to Say” is a far too clean and stagnant attempt at Lorde’s minimalism. The 808s, keyboards and synths on “Everybody’s Mother” are generic when contrasted with James Blake, an apparent inspiration for Kacy since “Bloo.” The simple drum kit beat and cloudy atmosphere on “I Believe in You” come across as low effort, cookie-cutter material from feature Francis and the Lights, who produces throughout the record to similar effect.

That being said, Is It Selfish isn’t without marked improvements on its predecessor. Hill’s sophomore LP is far more focused than Like A Woman, creating an atmosphere that is at least consistent, if not unique or particularly engaging. More notably, Hill’s attempts at dreamy immersion succeed on multiple occasions. The skittering beat, yawning vocals and subaquatic piano chords on “Told Me” make for a beautifully cozy soundscape. Meanwhile on highlights “To Someone Else” and “Unkind,” Kacy’s falsetto is mystifying, luring us into her melancholy world. The former’s characteristically dull production from Francis and the Lights is redeemed by a powerfully emotional and subtle vocal performance, somewhat of a rarity for Hill. The latter offers shifty electronic production with some well needed flares of raw instrumentation, growing towards a dramatic bridge with one of the record’s only dynamic song structures.

These are just about the only wholly successful tracks here, the others showing off only momentary strengths. “Porsche”’s wavy bridge hints at psych-pop in the vein of Tame Impala, which would be an exciting diversion for Hill if only she had committed to it. “Palladium”’s heavy bass is moving, but we’re missing what was probably a stunning vocal performance if it weren’t for the pointless and distracting use of Auto-Tune. Album closer “Dinner” has a refreshingly urgent tempo and a nearly thrilling build, but it frustratingly ends a minute short, refusing to reach a climax.

Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again is a small improvement on Hill’s earlier work, and the singer’s risky decision to leave the G.O.O.D. Music label doesn’t seem to have hurt her artistic vision. Disappointingly, though, Kacy continues to come across as underconfident as her second album’s title suggests, this being further confirmed by her lyrics which, for example, ask “Am I thinking too much about what I do?” In the end, Is It Selfish may be viewed as a positive step towards Kacy realizing her full potential, but for now we’re stuck with an artist who’s lost in her search for an artistic identity.

Summary
Is It Selfish If We Talk About Me Again is a small improvement on Hill’s earlier work, and the singer’s risky decision to leave the G.O.O.D. Music label doesn’t seem to have hurt her artistic vision.
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Ironically underconfident
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