Simone Nicole - "Divine"
Reviewed by Aaron Cloutier
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Simone Nicole delivers an emotionally dynamic performance on "Divine." An indie synth-pop celebration of all things feminine that is equal parts dreamy and driving.
The groundwork is laid out with exciting use of percussion and what sounds to my ear like heavily processed pizzicato bass lines. There's a slightly dark and, dare I say, "heavy" vibe that catches my attention upon first listen. A few seconds later, the sensual onset of vocal fry introduces Simone's sultry voice into the equation as she narrates intimately throughout the verses. The account is taken from the perspective of a woman inviting her lover to explore all of the divinity she has to offer. This to me, is best portrayed in lyrics such as.
"I wanna give it and get it and love it
Ready or not I'm flowing like water
Take a new breath cuz we're going under
Breathe it in, breathe it out you are my lover
It's incredible how we discover
Touching me leading you to the divine"
Though the lyrical content immediately conjures up plenty of visceral imagery, what makes "Divine" stand out is the creativity that's gone into the music itself. Despite the aforementioned "heavy" vibe, the theme of "Divine" weaves back and forth between dark and light due to the song revolving around the Mixolydian mode.
If you're not a theory nerd like me, then I think the best way to describe Mixolydian would be to say that if looking at it as a scale, Mixolydian can be looked at as being a "sad" major scale. In other words, it's a major key with just a little bit of minor inside it.
The use of this in the form of a modal chord progression gives off a feeling similar to "Royals" from Lorde without it sounding anything like it. Very impressive!
The song structure is refreshing as well. To my ear, it sounds like there are two separate pre-choruses. The first is an extension of the verse with the inclusion of rapid-fire vocal triplets, while the other drops in instrumentation but never drops in energy and pulls in focus beautifully.
The chorus explodes into this majestic, euphoric cascade of lush vocal harmonies, driving rhythms, and super dreamy passages. I love, in particular, how the stakes are raised as soon as the 2nd verse hits. Subtle inclusions of keyboards, extra vocals, and intricate rhythms kick things up a notch and really enhance what was previously established in the first verse/pre-chorus/ and chorus. This song held my attention throughout
In short, "Divine" is a refreshing take on contemporary pop music that dares to push the creative envelope while not going over the listener's head. I have to listen to it again now so, please excuse me!
More on Nicole Simone
The stirring, soulful voice of Dallas/Fort Worth independent singer and songwriter Simone Nicole moves beyond "happy" or "sad" and illuminates a broad range of emotion for her listeners.
Make sure to check out her website for more info on music, tour dates and amazing merch!
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