A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Track #39 on Thommy Ford’s Playlist
Automated music recommendations from iTunes, Spotify, and the like are a magical, wonderful, unfathomable thing. A few weeks ago I got this message on one of my music services: “You’ve listened to Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions. You should try Rhye.” Had they told me that what I was about to click on was actually a kind of European electro-pop with a Sade/smooth R&B twist to it, I would have completely ignored it and just kept listening to The Impressions. But thank the logarithm gods for piquing my curiosity and putting this in front of me with no further explanation. “Open” has become one of my favorite songs of 2013.
Rhye is a collaboration between Danish singer Robin Hannibal and Canadian producer Mike Milosh. The tunes on their debut album Woman are simple and repetitive but lushly arranged and big on atmosphere. Robin’s voice fits into this scheme perfectly. He sings with a kind of quiet grace, not overly emotional or flashy. At their most melancholy moments, like the song “One of Those Summer Days,” you can even hear hints of Hope Sandoval or Belle & Sebastian. “Open,” however sticks to a kind of sexy R&B vibe. The comparison I made to Sade above is not too far out. I’m sure there have been more than a few listeners shocked to discover that it’s a male singer on these tracks. The lyrics are suggestive and occasionally nonsensical, but who cares—it’s wonderful all the same. You can take a listen up above, then come on in and check out the album from our Pop section (781.63 RHY).
Review by Matthew