Samantha Leon - s/t (2017)

Written by Todd Bauer, posted by blog admin

The passion and simplicity behind Samantha Leon’s debut EP is where it wins and never loses at any point. This New York born and bred native is as good as they come when it gets down to their first bunch of songs surfacing. They don’t sound like they were done overnight, that’s for sure. She’s young, pretty, and full of serious but playful music. And she’s doing it with good players, including appearances from Danny Matos and Shako who show up to put some added pizzazz on the show. These are all A-grade tunes with everything from mellow to hard subjects covered on it.

Both versions of “Bright Yellow Shoes” versions are great, but if I had to choose one, it would be the first of the two because it’s the prelude to what is more like an epilog. Her haunting voice is the first thing you notice and, once it sets in, it’s like you’ve heard her before. By that time the obvious will kick in, but I won’t spoil that for you. You’ll have to just recall later, her resemblance to one of the great voices of the last two decades. And it’s amazing how she does this and still has her own sound all over this EP.

“Run Away” is another track that is just as good, but shows another side to her that comes off more original and it’s even better when she does this. Her voice is like silk on this, as opposed to some of the grittier tones she reaches but never loses register at high or low outcome. This is a lighthearted ballad with a mesmerizing vocal performance. It's one of the brightest six minutes to be found on the EP as a whole. But there are a few spots that don’t add up to these monster moments. “High” is one of the low points, and so is “Hello, Goodbye” with less octane in their tanks. It doesn’t matter, because the rest is so strong it isn’t even relevant.

This is simply the case with “Perfect (featuring Danny Matos)” where she races home on winning wheels. It embodies everything this EP is made of and tops it off with a cool rhyme from Danny Matos that brings Samantha’s debut full-circle. It’s not the best song, but they turn in a second to none job that edges out all others to these ears. You can weigh the other six tracks against it all you want, but most hip-hop lover will know where I’m coming from. Pop lovers gets their fill here too, and you can forget about any of the 70s influences as far as the songs go, but there definitely is a good old soul in Samantha Leon, and it comes on strong for her first outing.