While much of perennially brilliant singer Kadhja Bonet’s back catalog is thick with the dust and crackle of vintage soul, her new single, “For You”, released on Ninja Tune, performs a complete system update and finds itself slap bang in the middle of the eighties, in the club from the first Terminator to be precise. While the coiffured, synth-drenched melodrama of this particular period has had a huge renaissance over the last decade, it can sound more Europe than Eurythmics if the landing isn’t nailed with a neon flourish. Fortunately, Bonet confidently recalls the best in this nostalgic yet nascent genre, showing a vision of the future through the perspective of the past from the vantage point of the present, and somehow making it seem uncomplicated.
As soon as the shimmering 8-bit synths and retro 808s get the title screen loading, the tone is clear and all confusion is avoided. This is a cruise through San Francisco Bay while a dusky pixelated sun sets in the distance and Kadhja stretches out in the back, yelling tales of love and yearning. If that’s not your thing, don’t get in. The way she cries out for the lost object of her desire is so enrapturing it makes the listener want to start a Kickstarter to hire a private eye to track down Bonet’s boo. Her enchanting siren’s call acts as a radar, seeking and eventually finding her lover, promising to stand by them through whatever zany situations the eighties can throw at them.
The vocal harmonies of the final chorus lift “For You” to the next stratosphere, endeavouring to cause goosebumps on a mass scale. The melody meshes with the synth line seamlessly, forming an almighty power chord that reverberates through any petty barriers. This chorus provides a euphoric crescendo to the track, leaving the listener in a sugar coma. The rush may last for a while, but soon the public will demand more. As this track represents the return from a 5-year hiatus for Kadhja Bonet, this would seem to suggest a new sound for the artist, though she has been known to defy expectations, which is rude if you ask me. Fans will be expecting an album to lead on from this, and she may yet capitulate, but it is anyone’s guess which decades she settles on. Buy “For You” here.
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