Severine releases Feel the Rain (LP)
Opening with a sparkling myriad of colorful notes that spill out through our stereo speakers like cascading raindrops on a lazy autumn afternoon, “What Are the Odds” brings into focus Severine, an ascending popstar whose new album Feel the Rain hasn’t been released yet but is already being heralded by critics around the world as the definitive debut LP of the 2010’s. Songs like the ultra-surreal “What Are the Odds” are enough to hypnotize us in Severine’s melancholic harmony, but once “The Best of Me” rises from its predecessor’s ashes, it becomes abundantly obvious that we aren’t listening to a typical pop album. We’re experiencing the sound of a new era in music, one that will be dominated by artists who aren’t afraid to dig in, get a little dirty and invent a new hybrid of pop and electronica that will make use of technological advances in recording as much as it will the spirited passion of its players.
The spacey ambience of “Give Up on You” comes out of nowhere before clearing a path for the swaggering, smoky “Inner Peace,” which marches out of the darkness and chains us to its sensuous grooves from the moment Severine starts to sing. The influence of her New York City surroundings is prevalent throughout Feel the Rain, which melds the cosmopolitan feel of the city with a relaxed, almost avant-garde appreciation for its quirks and eccentricities. The love song “Lose Myself” churns with the same gentle whisper of a chilly New York breeze, but it’s the warmth of Severine’s comforting vocal that translates the song’s simplistic bones into a symphony of texture and rhythm.
Severine explores a lot of her own personality in Feel the Rain, starting with her views on love and relationships and then turning more towards her lifestyle and the decisions that have led her to where she’s at today. “Not Obsessed” is one of the album’s more analytical moments, but it pales in comparison to the title track, which in itself is a watershed of emotional confessions and realizations that are barely containable in its three minutes of playing time. For as ambitiously arranged and thematically stacked as Feel the Rain is, we never get the feeling that Severine is having to hold back or limit her range of expression to suit the space that she’s recording in.
The visceral “Last Dance” sets up the audience for the echoing drawl of the opulent “Down the Rivers” before finally giving in to the quaking thunder of “Still Alive,” which brings us full circle and spotlights just how enormous a sonic palate Severine is working with in a single track. I almost never say this about debut albums from artists who haven’t had a substantial background in the studio, but there’s no denying that Severine’s Feel the Rain is anything and everything that the diehard pop fan looks for in an LP. She’s jam-packed this album with more emotion, melody and enthralling dialogue than anyone could have anticipated, and music enthusiasts of all ages and tastes are bound to fall in love with what they hear when this album hits record stores this October 26.