thu 18/07/2024

Album: Becky Hill - Believe Me Now? | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Becky Hill - Believe Me Now?

Album: Becky Hill - Believe Me Now?

The pop rave queen of England refuses to leave the dancefloor

'Hill is the real deal, and all that success has not diluted that one bit'

There’s a whole generation of singers who’ve risen to considerable fame on the back of the return of home-grown commercial dance music to the charts since the early 2010s. Various Jesses and Ellas, Nathans and Calums have flooded daytime radio with decent enough, often TV talent show-winning, more or less generic vocals.

They all seem perfectly nice, but it can be hard to pick them apart, and – as highlighted by Raye’s recent label wranglings, and the You Know My Voice podcast from Kelli-Leigh – there does seem to be a fast-track route to solo success afforded to certain categories of artist that isn’t to others.

There’s one, though, who stands out, and who nobody with an ounce of discernment could begrudge her enormous success. Becky Hill was herself a talent show hopeful – reaching the semi-finals of The Voice in 2012 – and made her name as “feat.” vocalist for big dance producers like Oliver Heldens and David Guetta, but she has risen above all that with sheer force of personality and distinct musical identity. Hill, from Bewdley in the rural fringes of the West Midlands, could hardly be more of an archetype of a Middle England raver, and pretty much every song she’s released absolutely crackles with passion for the connection into something bigger and collective release of the dancefloor.

And so, impressively, it continues over a decade into her career. Her second solo album proper (or third if you count 2019’s collection of collaborative singles Get to Know) is her most focused yet, but it pretty much never steps out of the club. All of the production is in familiar styles – piano house, electro house, trance, the kind of boinky bassline stuff that became popular with the rise of nitrous oxide in the 2010s, with a dash of drum’n’bass at the end (including her already huge Chase & Status feature on “Disconnect”). Her vocal is a full-on style familiar from the chart rave and handbag house hits of the 90s.

The crucial thing, though, is that there’s nothing “retro” about this. This is the sound of someone who’s grown up and lived immersed in these sounds. Unlike so many of her contemporaries there’s no attempt to gussy it up with radio friendly “na na na”s or “woah woah”s (the dreaded “millenial whoop”). This is all delivered with total understanding of, and love for, the heightened feelings of the dancefloor – even an unusually simple and direct love ballad in the middle not letting the mood slip – and a grasp of the music as folk culture on these islands that gives it an unmistakeable authenticity through and through.

It’s not escapism, either: from the furious denunciation of abusive relationships in the title track duet with Self Esteem to the giddy capturing of an overthinking mind in “Multiply”, those heightened feelings are of rage, confusion and self-knowledge as much as they are of joy and exhileration. It only really takes a dip on the second, slightly confused, love song, "Lonely Again", but otherwise this is an album that powers along on adrenaline and palpable, lived emotion. Hill is the real deal, and all that success has not diluted that one bit.

@joemuggs

Watch "Outside of Love":

Unlike so many of her contemporaries there’s no attempt to gussy it up with radio friendly 'na na na's or 'woah woah's

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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