ALBUM REVIEW: Nilüfer Yanya – PAINLESS
Written by Dylan Davies on March 17, 2023
In PAINLESS, Nilüfer Yanya’s second album, the singer contrasts fast-paced, electronic instrumentation with sad, melancholic lyrics dealing with feelings of regret, shame and painful nostalgia.
I’m not sure where I first heard Yanya’s music. I thought I had heard a song in a Spotify playlist I had found of hot new Greenlandic music, though I later found out this must have been some kind of false memory after I announced this fact while playing this album’s ‘trouble’ on my show a couple of weeks ago. I began to second guess the Greenland connection and did some research to find none of her songs are on that playlist and that she was not from Greenland at all. Leading me to wonder what could have possibly made me believe that.
Either way, after this I really got into PAINLESS, as well as Yanya’s first album Miss Universe. I enjoy Yanya’s mixture of computerized and in-person instrumentation. For example, many songs, such as company, midnight sun and try, make use of a midwest-emo style guitar. Conversely, the drum machine tracks on songs like chase me and stabilize, are delayed, fuzzy and broken almost to the point of resembling break-beats. This album is far more acoustic than Miss Universe, Yanya’s last album, with many more songs on PAINLESS being based around a strumming electric guitar, such as company, for example.
Yanya’s vocal skills are demonstrated through these sad, melancholic tunes. For the most part, Yanya sings in a low mumble, with many of the lyrics being covered up by the instrumentations. This works great for the overall depressed feel of the album. Still, Yanya’s voice is compelling, unique and natural. This makes the sound relatable and enjoyable. I also loved the choir-like backing vocals on shameless.
Overall, this is a great album to listen to during moments of melancholia. The songs deal with sadness and regret in a fascinating way. The tunes are fast-paced, while remaining down beat. This is a very easy and enjoyable album.
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