by AC DeMarco
It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for; the flowers are starting to bloom, the pavement always smells like it just rained, and life is being breathed back into the city day by day. As more of us become eligible for the vaccine, and we (hopefully) prepare to share those joyous pre-pandemic moments at barbeques and yard parties again, I’m already curating my summer dance playlist. And I’ve found a perfect one with indie artist Helen’s "I’d Never".
With opening vocals reminiscent of Rosalia’s lilting riffs, Helen brings you into her world, head tilted up to the sky, eyes closed, dancing around in something flowy with a drink in your hand. The chorus fully gives the backyard BBQ vibes we want, with the groovy hook we need. You can feel the sun on your skin with this one - and it absolutely belongs on your summer dance playlist too.
"I'd Never" is fun and lively. The single has me missing live music even more than usual, because I’d love to watch Helen perform this on stage with a crowd truly just vibing to it, together. Helen’s ambient harmonies compliment her voice in a way that shows she knows when, where, and how her voice sounds its best.
The pulsing synths sitting at the back of the chorus feel like fire burning through the song, helping move things along, and prevents it from feeling one-note, which it can lean a bit towards at times. The production is a bit lacking - the instrumental elements that she includes to make this an interesting dance hit fall a bit flat in the mix. It’s her second single ever, and it’s self-produced, which means that she clearly has the talent and the ear that will take her far given she keeps at it. All the parts for a great single are there, and my gripes don't make me want to dance to it any less.
An independent artist from the DMV area, Helen’s first single was released in November 2020, titled "Hopeless," another dance single with a punchy beat that feels similar to the pulsing bass you find in “I’d Never”. This newest single doesn’t feel like a departure, but instead feels more like she’s finding her sound within the genre. In her own words, Helen chose a spring release date "because the overall atmosphere of the song was upbeat and fun which fits the warmer weather nicely." Her timing and self-description of the song’s energy is definitely spot-on, and we’re ultimately excited to hear what else she has in store.