Kacy Hill: "Shades of Blue"
from Bloo (GOOD Music / Def Jam Recordings / PMR Records; 2015)
By Dom Sinacola | 8 November 2015
Forget for a moment that she’s a so-called “protégé” to Kanye West—she isn’t, because for all of the cred Kanye’s supplied her, all the hook-ups he’s heralded for her, she hasn’t culled anything from his sound besides his name-brand chutzpah. Forget for a moment that she relocated from Phoenix at 18, and somehow stumbled into an American Apparel modeling contract upon landing in LA, then soon after matriculated into Kanye’s hyper-conceptual Yeezus tour—her debut EP Bloo is anything but handed to her, instead so clearly workmanlike in its ambition that one wonders what inch of it hasn’t been loomed-over lushly. And forget for a moment that debut music shouldn’t sound this complete—like James Blake and Florence + the Machine, two prominent influences one can hear pretty readily, Kacy Hill just makes this, the product of Millennial culture wrought in fully formed beginnings, middles, and ends. Because without such pomp and pedigree behind her, Kacy Hill is the kind of talented person who seemingly wields what she can do with the weight and respect such talent deserves.
Which is why “Shades of Blue” stands as the best pick from a seriously great mini-debut collection: it expects serious work out of all involved, and it’s stymied by anyone not ready to give his or her all. A resounding, full-bodied lamenting of too-eager hipster solipsism, the song is perhaps the first anti-Millennial anthem penned by a person who still lingers in that shade of grey between whatever makes for a Millennial and whatever is yet to be named as next in line. “I can’t keep surrendering my time / When you’re feeding me these shades of blue,” she states, plainly but dripping with a taxed season of resentment. That vowel she draws out—the “ooh” in “blue” scaling an octave like it owes her a weekend getaway—does not simply demonstrate her range, it puts in the work: Here, she claims, is where she stakes her claim to everything that was seemingly given to her. Because, really, nothing was. Instead, she ekes out a velvety corner of R&B-tinged pop perfection, a corner I once gave wholeheartedly to Jamie Woon, whose tempering of similarly, indelibly melodic electro-R&B made for the kind of music invulnerable to criticism. Because, no matter how one feels about Jamie Woon, no matter how one approaches Kacy Hill’s worn brand, theirs is nothing but earned real estate. Millennials, take heed: forget this artist—you don’t deserve her.