Over the past few months, Spanish-born Berlin-based singer/songwriter Sofi de la Torre has become something of a mainstay artist on this site. Now, if you’re new to the site — or just need a refresher let’s get into some necessary backstory here: de la Torre began writing songs when she was 14 and after spending a few years in Los Angeles, she relocated to London, where she signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, and then wrote and recorded a debut full-length album.
After the release of her debut effort, de la Torre went through a period of self-discovery and started experimenting with her sound and with new songwriting angles, which included incorporated new influences and an increasingly synth-based pop sound. This experimentation led to her collaborating with Finnish production/songwriting team Jonas Karlsson and Axel Ehnström, and it resulted in the critically praised single, “Vermilion,” which was featured on The Guardian’s playlist and on Grimes’ blog. The track was then remixed by deep house producers Crom and Thanh and played by Tiesto on his BBC Radio 1 program – adding to an already growing international profile across Europe.
That Isn’t You was released earlier this year to international attention and praise for a sound that many of my colleagues compared to Drake and Banks with a California vibe – and a raw, emotional introspection. The comparisons to Drake and Banks are arguable but to my ears, I hear the likes of Grimes, Lorde, Chelsea Lankes and Phoebe Ryan and a lengthy list of contemporary female pop artists who have dominated the attention of the blogosphere over the past year. However, what sets de la Torre apart from many of her contemporaries is that her sound manages to be sultrier and seems even more confessional and personal in nature.
Mess will be her second release this year and the EP’s first single, EP title track “Mess” has already received quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere, as its been climbing the Hype Machine charts and was featured in Spotify’s Weekend Buzz playlist. The album’s latest single “London x Paris” directly references a one-sided relationship in which one person, presumably the song’s narrator, is giving much more than the other. And as a result, the narrator expresses a pent-up frustration that’s coming to a very slow boil but its paired with an sense of resignation about the nature of relationship, and its lack of a future.
Sonically, the song pairs de la Torre’s sultry and breathy coos with a slickly contemporary production based around swirling and undulating electronics, skittering percussion, slowly cascading synths, a distorted vocal sample at the song’s hook to create a song that evokes late night, teary-eyed confessions, and lonely nights full of crushing disappointment. (In some way, it reminds me of Jef Barbara’s “Song for the Loveshy,” which possesses a similar sentiment.)
The recently released official video for the song was produced by de la Torre and features footage shot in London and Paris — most of it being shot at night, which emphasizes the lonely late night feel of the song.