“Miss Universe,” was maybe 2019’s most underrated album. Now, three years later, Nilüfer Yanya is back with “Painless,” an equally intriguing if not wholly different record.
“Painless” opens with “The Dealer,” a confident percussive number that recalls the early numbers on “Miss Universe.” But from there, “Painless” starts to bloom in a different direction. “Miss Universe” had a swagger, tied thematically with the “WWAY HEALTH” interludes. “Painless” eschews that for something that feels softer, more vulnerable.
There are still plenty of grooves, but they slink into a mellower vibe. Even when the pace gets picked up - like on “Stabilise” with it’s frantic instrumentation - it doesn’t feel anxious, but rather hypnotic. That has always been a her strength: creating trance like melodies the loop in your brain long after the song ends. That’s the draw of this album, each song unfolds in a way that entrances you, leaning on repetition of sound and word to create a mantra like rhythm.
It’s the album’s softest moments that are the most striking. “Trouble” sounds so fragile that it could shatter or dissolve at any moment. The way the second half of “Try” swoons in it’s chorus, gaining urgency as the songs fades out,
For me, the highlight to the whole Album is “Shameless.” It’s perfectly distills everything that Nilüfer Yanya does so well — the hypnotic rhythmic delivery, the ear worm of a hook, and a feel as soft as a pillow while not at all being weak. It’s a flawless track on a beautiful album. Nilüfer Yanya’s music rewards patience, and the ability to let repeat listens open itself up. Sit with it, and “Painless” will quickly have you under its spell.
”Painless” And “Miss Universe” are available on Nilüfer Yanya’s Bandcamp page