Nina Yasmineh – Pirates
By Carolyn Vallejo
Singer-slash-songwriters have it hard today. The market seems to be flooded with them, and they introduce themselves to subtle eye rolls and expectations to be less than blown away, if not downright bored.
Luckily, Nina Yasmineh champions the true art of singing and songwriting. She isn’t simply a pretty voice and a guitar and predictable lyrics. She produces her music, taking control of every note and beat and directing the presence of every track. The result? Sophistication, and sexiness, and soul – music that makes you want to sit in a room lit by a candle and get lost in between the headphones.
The New Yorker’s latest issue, “Pirates,” is smoky and haunting, swaying between chants and melodies of self-reflection and longing. Earlier releases like the title track off her “Dark Heart” EP, released last year, are more weighty, a song with equally sensual vocals, deep bass and a mesmerizing melody that flows over a Southern pulse.
Not all of her songs are as complex. “Alone” offers the simplicity of heartbreak and a piano, proving that just as devilish as Yasmineh’s voice can be, it can be equally as pure. And then there are the remixes. “Dark Heart” has been given the ‘80s teenage treatment thanks to synths and a drum machine. Or there’s her rendition of Daft Punk’s “Instant Crush,” itself originally a hybrid of technology and ballad, turned by Yasmineh into what feels like a more natural, acoustic environment.
Yasmineh is far from the singer/songwriter stereotype. Lyrics hit deep, vocals are thick, and arrangements keep the ears interested through a mix of electronic production and more traditional instrumental. She has the ability to be dark and angelic at the same time, without clearly defining either mood. She’s a bit of a conundrum, but Yasmineh is making a new name for what it means to be poetically alone, to be singing from life experiences, and to be the sole creator of her music.