If her last name wasn’t enough of a clue, then Julia King’s new single “Lovers Lament” should clear up any confusion as to whether or not she’s the epitome of modern indie music royalty. “Lovers Lament” takes her stylish and versatile palate and gears it towards a wicked cocktail of Motown-inspired R&B and straight-up jazz crooning, yielding something fascinatingly original that anyone who loves smooth jams won’t be able to resist. The Long Islander rips into the verses with an unforgiving emotion that is striking, overpowering, and yet accessible to us through the delicate master mix, and though the song is a bit more polished than some of her previous work, it’s not a stock pop single by any imaginable means.
“Lovers Lament” is quite indulgent melodically, with King stretching out her bold release in the chorus for as long as she can hold a note, but I wouldn’t say that it suffers from the drawbacks of excess stylistically. It’s pretty obvious that she wanted to blend a lot of influences into this tightly wound single, and though it’s quite ambitious compositionally, it is King’s familiar serenading that prevents us from totally going off the rails and into all-out experimental territory. This is her most elaborate stuff so far, and I for one like where she’s going with her sound.
Julia King Croons About Her Lost Love
The slick production value of “Lovers Lament” definitely helps to soften the somewhat harsh narrative in the lyrics, and could easily inspire kindred spirits feeling a little less lonely to make some sparks on the dancefloor. There’s an undeniable blues influence in the tempo of the song that meshes well with the jazzy percussive tonality that contours the piano parts. Words like “diverse” just don’t do this arrangement justice; it’s so complex and calculated, but it plays out like easy listening music just the same.
Drums that are this sexy in their sway shouldn’t even be legal. They’re by far the biggest jazz component in the whole of the song, and they’re rather prominent in the master mix beside King’s vocal track, which to me really defines this song and its hybridity better than anything else does. Normally in a single of this persuasion, I would be concerned as to how the percussion would translate in a live setting, but when it comes to any performance that Julia King gives, nothing could ever outshine her singing (thus making my concerns incontrovertibly mute).
2019 really needs more songs like this to spice up the drab environment that mainstream pop music has been shaping just above the cavernous realm of the underground. Julia King is doing a phenomenal job of keeping this strain of vocal music alive and well for a new generation to consume, appreciate and, hopefully, learn from as they create their own unique sounds and scenes. Though “Lovers Lament” boasts lyrics that are best suited for accompanying a lost heart in need of a melodic boost and a shot of whiskey, its provocative, highbrow musicality is more than satisfying for music fans who demand a lot of texture in their favorite songs – an element that this single has in spades.
-review by Scottie Carlito