If you were to put a gun to our heads – hell, even if you weren’t – we’d pretty easily be able to say that Girl by The Internet is the best R&B track this decade has seen. A lot of that rests on Syd, the coquettish and androgynous half of the former Odd Future members; hers is a voice that feels unhurried yet poised, confident yet open about its vulnerabilities.
Where her counterpart Matt Martians‘ solo album seemed like a melting pot of brainwaves that didn’t quite bubble to something satisfactory, Fin comes across as definite as its title. Syd coos all over a track like Know, in a higher register than perhaps we’re used to, and in doing so cements herself as the most unexpected but finest R&B star in the world right now.
And it all works because it’s so unassuming. She brings together the sex appeal of Aaliyah, mixes it with the experimental nature of a Kelela, and yet gives it the perennial Syd twist that keeps her on top of the pile. While the trap-lean of Nothin To Somethin and All About Me might not be overly imaginative in their instrumentation, Syd’s doggedness and coarser side keep them interesting. That balanced with a more blissed out Smile More or bedroom bop like Body allows her to traverse moods with both ease and finesse.
The true mark of her talent though? The fact that even a 1:10 hit like Drown In It can be so damn memorable, a passageway that allows her to saunter between sweet and spicy in a matter of songs. “You can thank my insecurities for keeping me around you, babe,” she sings very openly on the final track Insecurities. Oddly enough that’s what seals the love for Syd – she has that raw and relatable quality we all see in ourselves, and that final cherry is what assures us that Fin is only just the beginning for this one.