Erika De Casier – Still

Erika De Casier Still review

Since 2019, Copenhagen pop artist Erika de Casier has blazed trails and turned heads. With an amorphous style influenced by ’90s hip-hop and 2000s pop/R&B, the singer/producer has garnered a cult-like following of tapped-in fans and high profile artists alike. “Jumpin’ on my bike, helmet on tight/Gotta get to work real fast,” she declared with determination on “Busy,” “I wanna keep it real, still.” Real she’s remained and Still, her third album, is sensational. Erika de Casier’s highly anticipated new record finds her retaining the wry, genreless, anti-capitalist elements of previous work while thriving in her own borderless pop domain. This feels like the singer’s pointed step into the spotlight, and de Casier sounds as cool and calm as ever. Big records demand big claims, so here’s the lowdown; Still is one of the best pop albums of all time. 

Admittedly, I was nervous when I first heard “Lucky”; in hindsight, it’s the obvious lead single, beautiful and timely, though its use of drum ‘n’ bass percussion felt a little too glued to trends of the moment. Consider this: lots has happened since 2021, the same year PinkPantheress released To Hell With It, an album filled with Y2K aesthetics similar to de Casier’s but with a little less Sade and a few more breakbeats. The “Amen” break is in vogue, but its use here is no gimmick; de Casier’s songwriting and production sound revamped on Still, and “Lucky” is the album’s premier case in point. 

Shuffling snares and hi-hats scuttle under an interpolation of the Rodney Jerkins-produced, Linda Király-performed “Can’t Let Go.” As the rhythm kicks in, Erika de Casier clears the room; she’s in love. “Time with you goes too fast,” she confesses, “You make it real easy to love you right back.” “Lucky” is the first of many up-down moments of intimacy on Still, a record often examining the balance between passionate, healthy relationships and the volatile pressures of work and modern life.

“The Princess” finds de Casier exploring this impossible equilibrium; “I want to be a mom/And still do my job/Why can’t I have it all?,” she croons, her voice at its most vulnerable. That balance is later explored on the unabashedly pro-worker’s-rights “My Day Off” and again on “Test It,” where the singer strikes a cheeky work/sex life balance: “Can”t wait til I get off tonight/keep looking at the clock, tick tock.

While Still’s clever lyricism and novel themes set Erika de Casier apart from the average pop musician, the songs on this record consistently speak for themselves. This is an album written by someone in complete control of their vision and craft. Between de Casier’s signature palette and an enhanced sense of focused songwriting, Still contains plenty of remarkable, inspiring pop moments. Take the instant classic “Believe It,” where we find EdC mourning a relationship—a specific one, no doubt. By 2:06, de Casier turns an excellent song perfect. The bass cuts out and the beat reverts while the singer’s echoed voice becomes clouded in its own misty recollection; “I’ll always remember/all of the hours spent here/All of the days we wasted/All of the nights here.” 

It’s satisfying to hear Still’s features stir some of Erika de Casier’s most memorable hooks to date. “Ice” links her and Gulf Coast mainstays They Hate Change in the throes of a hot-and-cold relationship where one chilly party continues to buy things we know de Casier doesn’t really need. Later, Shygirl makes an appearance on the scathing reggaeton hit “Ex-Girlfriend” while the Blood Orange-featuring “Twice” turns rainy-day snares and de Casier’s visionary sense of melody into a tune you’ll hum in the kitchen, on a walk, til you die.

Still begins with a musical anteroom, a ceremonial hello for both returning fans and “Lucky” listeners fortunate enough to find themselves taking the new record for a spin. “Welcome to my party/say hello to everybody,” de Casier starts on “Right This Way,” a rightful introduction to your favorite artist’s favorite artist. It’s an unsubtle welcome to an album where, for the first time, it feels lots of people might finally be listening. Still might be just a snapshot for de Casier, but it’s a massive milestone in her brilliant career as pop music’s formerly best kept secret.

Label: 4AD

Year: 2024

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