The Critics Corner | Albums

Black Coffee Hitmaker strikes gold and much much more on strong debut album
Alan HopAlbum name: Black Coffee
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Rating: -- 4.0 out of 5
Review written by: Alan Ho
We are truly in a new era of prolific songwriters gone their own way; the first big one in this new era really belonged to Ryan Tedder, who continues to spin his songcraft for Grammy award winners while striking gold with OneRepublic. Last year or so, the spotlight turned on to Julia Michaels. Now in 2020, who's going to take that spotlight?

In enters Brittany Amaradio, otherwise known as Delacey. Otherwise known as one of the talented and creative songcrafting minds of Halsey's no. 1 smash "Without Me", Zara Larsson's smash hit "Ruin My Life" and a song called "New York City," recorded by The Chainsmokers. Among others like Demi Lovato, Sabrina Carpenter and Against The Current. So given her songwriting pedigree, what kind of music should we expect from Delacey herself when she wants to chart her course?

Black Coffee is the end result (or beginning of a journey) of her pedigree plus what she grew up listening to with well, just Delacey. In an era where LPs in the pop world are generally reduced to simple radio friendly jams clocked under 3 minutes and with about 10 tracks, Black Coffee dares to be a throwback here with 13 tracks, generally over 3 and half minutes each. Add the dreamy but raw musical landscape, biting and raw lyrics with a vocal delivery that also evokes Halsey, Lana Del Rey and KT Tunstall, what we have here is a debut album that people NEED to be talking about.

Every song, all thirteen of them showcase the following above. But songs like "My Man" and in particular "No One's Gonna Ever Love U" are not just that, but also deeply personal; especially "No One's Gonnas Ever Love U." It was a bit jarring at first hearing someone tell their ex (?) to go spend their rent on drugs, choke on their bull and that they're nothing (it's actually a lot more colorful) but after a few listens, it is actually quite refreshing and should be on the radio...or on TV shows. "The Subway Song" is a refreshing metaphor to homesickness, using the subway as a metaphor of someone yearning to return home, proving that Delacey can be just as personal without the bite.

"Break Up Slow Dance" is about as close Delacey gets to KT Tunstall, with featured vocals from Valley Boy. The ivory tickling throughout, the ethereal positive landscape makes the breakup song seem sunny; again very KT Tunstall-like. One of the best tracks on the album. And speaking of best tracks, Delacey saves that for the final with track with superstar rapper G-Eazy titled "Cruel Intentions." If we were back in 1999, this should have been the theme song for the movie itself. Her ethereal, emotive, metaphorical lyrics deliver a sensual feel as the woman in the relationship, juxtaposed by G-Eazy's easy flow style as the man in the relationship. It is actually quite a way to finish the debut album of Delacey.

Black Coffee delivers a message, Delacey is here, there and while she is going to continue to write songs for some of the biggest acts in the world, she has more than enough creative juices for herself like the aforementioned Tedder. And like him, she might be leaving her best material for herself; this is stuff you probably won't get in a Halsey or Zara Larsson no. 1 hit, or even Demi (maybe). But what we have her is someone who wanted to see what it's like to be the other side and what do you know? Delacey's debut album showcases potential staying power and at the top of the breakout acts in 2020...and we're only in March!
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