H.E.R.'s Sophomore Album, I Used to Know Her is Vibrant & Emotive
Evan Dale // Sep 3, 2019
You can’t talk R&B without talking H.E.R. The emotive vocalist whose self-titled 2017 album highlighted Daniel Caesar’s international hit, Best Part, introduced her mystery and elusiveness to a styling exploding back into the global limelight for the first time in a generation. And with her unique vocal delivery and particularly audience-encompassing aesthetic, she was always primed to be one of this generation’s most important names. Per expectation, H.E.R.’s sophomore album, I Used to Know Her isn’t only wide-ranging in its texture and its many stylistic lanes, it’s also wide-ranging in its ability to appeal.
If defined by anything, I Used to Know Her is delineated most clearly by a seamless and seemingly constant knack for transitioning between hip-hop, R&B, and Neo-Soul where the latter two are separated most by instrumental foundation verses modern production technique and the former pulls itself from the others by its newness to her bag of tracks. I Used to Love Her is an exhibition of a new era in music where R&B vocalists – and every lane of dedicated artistry in music – reach well beyond their native lanes into experimentation of others.
For H.E.R. and for I Used to Know Her, a trichotomy of identities exists. An acoustic Neo-Soul manifestation defines the album’s softer and more emotive direction (Good To Me is an incredible standout). A modernist take on R&B cuts certain selections of an especially romantic cloth (Could’ve Been which features the vocals of R&B legend and RCA label costar, Bryson Tiller is one of the year’s most anthemic babymakers.) A hip-hop lane is unearthed and very well maneuvered, growing H.E.R.’s established signature to new heights (Lost Souls is an upbeat display of a new lane.)
And another set of tracks entirely shows in full view H.E.R.’s knack for weaving them all together (Racks featuring YBN Cordae is an indefinable coalescence of her many, and now more refined stylistic explorations.)
Keep I Used to Know Her in mind next time you need a taste of something new, because nothing – not even H.E.R.’s prior work – sounds quite like it.