Severine’s original composition “Not Obsessed” is an excellent introduction to a performer we are certain to hear more from in the immediate future. Born in the United States and raised in France, this European blooded pop star in the making wreathes her songwriting in the sounds of electronic music, showing a strong predilection for the work of Radiohead, Muse, and Portishead, among others, but she spins the material in an unique direction thanks to her charisma and memorable vocal talents. Her work with the digital audio workshop Ableton has unlocked something in this powerful new musical force and she’s elaborated on what she’s learned in a marvelous, ear catching way. “Not Obsessed” packs a lot of emotion and skill into one sleek package. If this is a taste of the promised EP soon to follow in its footsteps, then Severine is lingering on the cusp of something truly grand and comes across as a performer with ample talent to pull it off.
Severine’s songwriting weaves dynamics together in a memorable way. The song moves from a rather melancholy, thoughtful opening into more rousing passages and the track’s percussion gives it a straight-ahead, head down quality that keeps its energy level high and tethers the tune to earth. The song’s high points hit their mark with Severine’s vocals proving that they can keep up with wherever this song wants to go. Some might think this song tries to do too much considering its running time, but the transitions come naturally in this performance and there’s never a sense that Severine is rushing things.
It isn’t difficult to hear her childhood influences like Louis Armstrong and Nina Simone coming through in the performance. Talented musicians and singers often internalize their earliest masters and you hear their influence coming through for years to come; the jazzy shadow cast by Armstrong and, particularly, Simone comes through in the virtuosic vocal delivery Severine shows off for listeners. She plays the lyrics like a saxophonist might, riffing on certain words, giving things a discernible swing. The mix of her voice with some traditional instrumental touches and electronic backing comes off nicely because they are all in tune with one another – there’s never any sense that a single element is capable or attempting to overshadow others. This single is quite an impressive achievement that makes a substantive statement as well as showing great commercial appeal. One must assume that “Not Obsessed” is an early taste of her soon to drop EP release and, if this is the case, the musical weight of that release is likely to be akin to a full length album. Severine is an outstanding vocalist, a capable composer, and clearly has an ear for surrounding herself with the right collaborators. This winning combination pays off very well with this release.