I Used to Know Her
Released three months apart in 2018, the two I Used to Know Her EPs, combined here into a full-length, signaled where the R&B singer/multi-instrumentalist was at and pointed to where she’s going. She unveils a new skill, rapping, on “Lost Souls,” a tribute to Lauryn Hill’s classic “Lost Ones,” while “Against Me” and “Feel a Way” revert back to the sensual alt-quiet storm of her self-titled 2017 project. “Could’ve Been,” with Bryson Tiller, scans like a sad follow-up to her joyful duet with Daniel Caesar, “Best Part.” With “Carried Away,” you can hear the then-21-year-old pushing her sound in brand-new, unexpected directions. Her earlier projects’ after-hours, filtered-down synth pads are replaced with the rough, more human edges of acoustic guitar and piano, played by the artist herself. “Hard Place” is the new, livelier sound’s high point, with its mix of low-register verse confessionals and high-flying hook harmonies over a rim-shot-and-shaker beat. On the other end of the spectrum is “Lord Is Coming,” which starts with a spoken-word screed decrying materialism and racism (including immigrant family separations) before building into a haunting classic spiritual, complete with acoustic bass, humming choir, and Revelations-inspired lyrics. Bonus tracks include two collaborations with YBN Cordae (“Racks” and an update of “Love Is Coming”) and a sumptuous live version of “Uninvited,” recorded in London for Apple Music’s Up Next series.