Szandra Mayer “Never Really Good Enough”


Szandra Mayer tries her hand at a righteous strain of R&B experimentalism in her latest single “Never Really Good Enough,” and it might just be her most gripping material released to the public yet. In this all-new track, Mayer’s honeysweet harmonies carve a decadent groove out of an ambient beat and spellbind us inside of a mere three minutes and change, and while the rhythm is intoxicating and riddled with texture, there’s never any doubt that this song is all about its velvety-soft vocal track. “Never Really Good Enough” is an exercise in lyrical self-awareness, but its title couldn’t be any more ironic considering the caliber of its content.

There aren’t as many layers to this single as we found in the stunner “Never Ever,” but the simplicity in the mix is a nice change of pace for Mayer’s sound. A lot of the music that she’s released so far has been steeped in physicality and studded with larger than life grooves, and though this song isn’t devoid of a gargantuan bassline, it isn’t half as aggressive as it could have been when we look at the sheer volume of space that she’s working with here. Mayer exhibits immense self-control in this single, both as a vocalist and as a songwriter.

The lyrics are concise, clear and crisply delivered via the vocal, and the music that surrounds them is rich with a textural emotion that gives the words most – if not all – of their context. One of the reasons why I’ve steered clear of pop stylized in the same way that “Never Really Good Enough” is in recent years has been because of a lack of cohesiveness between the poetic value of the verses and the substance of the instrumentation, but that could change if Mayer’s latest formula were to become the dominant style of attack on the American side of the Atlantic.

I’m getting a little bit of jazz swing in the percussion here that I would love to hear her explore a bit more in future recordings. Szandra Mayer is only 12 years old – which in itself would give a lot of listeners the impression that she isn’t ready for the primetime stage that she’s ascending to so seamlessly at the moment – but I see her age as more of an attribute than a drag on her budding career. At this stage, she can do anything with her sound and not find herself labeled a sell-out, which is an opportunity that, admittedly, most artists twice her age would kill for.

If you’ve enjoyed the material that Szandra Mayer has released to date, “Never Really Good Enough” is going to hit the spot this spring and leave you convinced that this young lady is well on her way to owning the pop charts as the 2020s approach. She’s got so much energy, so much unrestrained emotion, that I think she’s only begun to show us what she’s capable of doing in the studio when all the cards are on the table. I can’t wait to hear what she does next, and I’m positive that I’m not the only critic who feels this way.


Michael Rand

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