Quiet introspection has been the hot musical trend for the pandemic, with many artists releasing intimate-sounding albums reflecting a new existence of safety-induced confinement. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Nilüfer Yanya goes against that grain with Feeling Lucky, her EP of big, poppy, rock numbers that will remind you of hazy, crowded dance floors that once represented freedom and now indicate super- spreader events.
Yanya’s 2019 debut, Miss Universe, featured rocking guitar, her beats and production sharing track space with an overall hard rock heaviness. Feeling Lucky is lighter, with the guitars back in the mix, providing texture instead of riffs. At three songs, it’s a short set, but impressive in how Yanya uses the few tracks to create memorable tunes, Yanya’s voice able to work a vocal range from the lower and higher end of things, often sounding like Annie Lennox.
“Crash” has a familiar drum groove, with lots of space, and plenty of musical hooks to make your head bob along. But her vocal lines are compelling, with Yanya begging, “I believe in conversations, I believed your lies / I believe in relevations” before reassuringly answering her own prayers with the chorus, layering her voice so it almost sounds like a duet taking place within her own head. “Same Damn Luck” has a simple beat, allowing Yanya’s operatic vocals to soar for brief moments. The guitar is simple here, mostly keeping the song moving forward, but providing occasional bursts of color. And “Day 7.5093” shuffles along with an 80s’ energy but contemporary sound.
Feeling Lucky shows Yanya integrating her guitar into her songs, so you’re less aware of when you’re hearing the instrument. That’s good for the songs, in that it makes them feel whole, but the cost is less of the Miss Universe rock and roll swagger. But the songs are solid and it’s novel to hear Yanya in more of a traditional pop mode, although her melodies are deeper than anything you ever heard reverberating off of a club floor.
Order Feeling Lucky by Nilüfer Yanya here