Anna Wise - 'As If It Were Forever' Album Review
From being part of the bands Built to Fade and Sonnymoon, curating the soundtrack to the Netflix series Dear White People, and collaborating with Kendrick Lamar on the Grammy winning ‘These Walls’, even if you haven’t heard of Anna Wise before, her influence has permeated throughout pop culture. Being her debut solo album, As If It Were Forever feels long overdue but worth the wait.
Compared to her two previous Eps, The Feminine: Act I and Feminine: Act II released in 2016 and 2017 respectively, her previous solo work scrutinised the oppression of women in modern society with provocative titles such as ‘Bitchslut’ and ‘Decrease My Waist, Increase My Wage’. However, As If It Were Forever allows the listeners to meet a much more intimate version of Anna as an artist.
With soft R’n’B vibes rippling with the Wise’s mellow vocals in ‘Abracadabra’ featuring Little Simz and bringing in a chilled hip-hop number with Denzel Curry appearing on ‘Counting My Blessings’, the American singer keeps true to her synergistic nature and varied sound. Similarly, working with Jon Bap, with who she released the experimental album Geovariance in 2018, Wise’s bizarre but undeniably brilliant instrumentation comes alive in ‘Juice’; the echoed drums, vocoder effect, light but haunting guitar, seethes and jolts with charisma.
A key theme in her music, as said in interview with Substream Magazine previous to the album dropping, was how improvisation is a key part of her creative process. ‘Nerve’, being a clear standout track, brings an undulating uncut feel of improv with a beautifully textured sound, each instrument playing an integral part. The beginning has a similar sound to LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Oh Baby’ with the heavy keys and ticking beat, and perhaps could experience similar critical acclaim.
‘What’s Up With You?’ speaks directly to the experience of online dating when singing “swipe left swipe right”. Again, with a gentle R’n’B undertone, Wise utilises her voice to create a layered, ethereal chorus whilst highlighting issues surrounding sex when asking “why do you think what you did for her will work for me?”. This track exemplifies her shift from creating music with a detached feminist narrative in her previous Eps to using her personal experiences.
As If It Were Forever reminds us of what we already know; Wise’s talent knows no bounds. Not only does she have a voice that shimmers, especially noticeable in the mesmerising ‘Mirror’ and ‘Coming Home’, but her genre bending tracks are a craft. This album is an arresting exposé of her personal experiences and a spellbinding solo debut.
Check out the album in full below: