Text: Paul van der Zalm

 “An accident can happen quickly”, do you know this expression? I thought of this when I was listening to the EP ‘Feeling Lucky? by Nilüfer Yanya which was released yesterday. On this EP with just three tracks, luck is the central theme. Specifically: to what extent does (bad) luck influence your life and how much of this is in your own hands?

It’s an understatement to say that the  past year has strongly been determined by the corona crisis. In the void that arose from that after the tour for critically acclaimed debut album ‘Miss Universe’ from 2019 Yanya took the chance to work on this EP. Because the ideas had been lying around for a while and she didn’t see herself doing live streams.

More or less by accident Yanya got in contact with three guys who took care of the production. In the first place for closing track ‘Same Damn Luck’ which Yanya recorded and wrote together with Will Archer. It’s a laid back song that she herself describes as a ‘guitar ballad’. Characteristic is the picking way of playing the guitar, playing together with the bass (like we know from for example The Cure), but surprising is the fact that Yanya alternates between low and high singing. Unfortunately, but in that way a good sign, the song ends too soon. More recognisable as a representative song for Yanya is ‘Day 7.5093′, in short called ‘Day 7’, mostly because of her hoarse and sometimes lightly cracking voice. This song is produced by Bullion, who is on the same label and from the same city, and together the two made a successful piece with many layers and room for nice sounds and sometimes a whining guitar. Yanya already played the song in July during a Tiny Desk Concert of NPR and in October it was used for a campaign against the decay of the American democracy, next to other songs from bands like Arcade Fire and The War On Drugs. Although the song is sung, it might as well have been used as a rap.

But we were totally blown away by the opening song ‘Crash’, which title refers to the fear of flying, and less directly also to the fear of losing control. Yanya shows another side of herself, which we didn’t know yet: as the power woman we suspected from her, but who had been hidden until this moment. In this top notch superhit the line “If you ask me one more question, I’m about to crash” takes the lead. It’s a song that asks to be on repeat for an entire night. Credits for the swinging production go to Nick Hakim. The collaboration with him originates from a coincidental meeting in hometown Brooklyn, NY. With this EP Yanya looks back on this ‘annus horribilis’. At the same time the composer and guitarist shows that she is ready for the next move; that promises a lot for 2021!

ATO Records/PIAS

Photo: Paul van der Zalm

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