Song of the Day: Nilüfer Yanya – Baby Luv

Song of the Day, The Afternoon Show w/ Kevin Cole
12/13/2017
KEXP
photo by Hollie Fernando

By Justin Farrar

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Baby Luv” by Nilüfer Yanya, a single that is currently available via ATO Records.

Nilüfer Yanya – Baby Luv (MP3)

Since releasing her debut EP in 2016, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Nilüfer Yanya has carved out a unique identity thanks to an ingeniously simple and clean marriage of DIY artiness and lounge jazz nonchalance that places the West London-born artist somewhere between the rich soulfulness of early Tracey Thorn and King Krule’s endearing idiosyncrasies. Yet the single “Baby Luv,” released in September on ATO Records, opens up whole new dimensions to her captivating sound. The light, playful swing of previous recordings gives way to something more stark and blunt.

As Yanya’s guitar lays down a persistently clicking progression of muted-yet-chunky chords, her cryptically melodic voice slips into a litany of metronomic chants -- including the provocative line “Do you like pain?” -- that double-down on resignation and self-doubt. They are emotions that are further accentuated in the track’s striking video. Utilizing the romantically dated tourist traps of the British seaside for a backdrop, Yanya plays a game of stare-down with the camera, allowing her large, expressive eyes to bore into the viewer’s psyche.

It’s been a banner year for the musician. In addition to “Baby Luv,” she dropped her second EP, Plant Feed. BBC Music has acknowledged her innovation by recently placing her on its Sound of 2018 Longlist, a collection of young artists hailed as emerging shapers of pop music.

You can follow Yanya on Facebook here and you can watch the video for "Baby Luv" below.

 

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