Young Love, the final single before the release of the full album, is a lush blend of sassy soulful vocals and modern R&B grooves, skittering trap-inspired beats and gorgeous soundscaping. And as such, it is the perfect teaser for the full 16 track outing to follow. But of course, a single, even one as richly textured and well-crafted as this, can suggest only one sonic aspect of any artist. Grown is the sonic canvas big enough to allow the wonderfully named Betty Bass to fly, creatively speaking. As a wise man once said, “that was the river, this is the sea.”
And Grown is the perfect sound of modern soul. Ironically also being the exception that proves the rule. I say this because although soul music lies at the core of what Betty Bass does, it is the inclusion of everything from pop to R&B, dance moves and indie vibes that really lifts this off the page. It is a great soul record because it reflects the exploratory and slightly genre-hopping nature of where the genre is in the modern age.
Take a song like Sideways. Vocally rich and infectiously grooved, it is as pop as it is soul, will be a hit with the dance denizens in the chill rooms and more relaxed hours and ticks all of the boxes for a mainstream R&B hit. There are confident and euphoric highs, such as the bass and beat-driven Late Night Call and Whatever, luxurious lulls with songs like Vibe Out, and between them gentle ballads like Distant and songs such as Sideways, which seem to somehow combine intimacy with energy, groove and grace.
Grown is everything you need from a modern soul artist. It will both find favour with aficionados and make new converts. It plays to soul music traditions yet embraces sonic exploration and musical adventure. What more could you ask for?
Grown - Betty Bass
It will both find favour with aficionados and make new converts. It plays to soul music traditions yet embraces sonic exploration and musical adventure. What more could you ask for?