34 Dua Saleh: CROSSOVER

2020 #57, 2019 #75

Ooooooooooh Dua (par-par-parpar-parpar), ooooh Saleh, Saleh (par-par-parpar-parpar), you are my innovational and boundary pushing electronica tinged hip-hop nonbinaryyyyyyy, and you got me wanting you.

Yeah, I know, looking at that contemporary photograph of The Archies there, you might worry that there were real issues with representation in the late 60s, but if it makes you feel any better know that three of the members were proudly out homosexuals, two did not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, and one was a literal dog.

Nice try, by the way, Dua. Calling your new EP ‘CROSSOVER’ in the belief that it would guarantee some sort of ‘crossover’ success. It doesn’t work like that! The Strokes’ 2003 album ‘Room on Fire’ didn’t actually set any rooms ablaze. Despite their 2012 album ‘Away from the World‘, the Dave Matthews Band are still very much on Earth. Jamiroquai’s 1993 opus ‘Emergency of Planet Earth‘ didn’t cause any emergencies at all – it was the 90s, seriously, our biggest concern was making sure one strap of our overalls were down at all times. Hmmm? What’s that, Dua? Oh, you were born in Sudan?Ah. Then maybe scratch that last bit. Perhaps Jay Kay was far more prescient than we all gave him credit for.

OK, with all the niceties over, welcome to my annual appreciation of the Sudan born, Midwest USA residing, gender nonconforming boss of Trip Hop influenced poetry/rap that still sounds quite unlike anything else currently being made and that I have long theorised will one day result in a full album that will likely be regarded the most significant moment in music and culture in whatever year they deign we’re worthy of it.

‘CROSSOVER’ (LOUD NOISES!) is not yet that full album. I mean, obviously, it’s not a full length album, it’s an EP, the third in an increasingly impressive catalogue. It also isn’t quite yet the moment at which Dua announces unequivocally that theirs is the carriage that all of humanity should tie their hopes upon. It’s still fantastic, globulously, still an undeniably intoxicating enchantment of their shamanistic powers, and it rises twenty three places in the charts similarly to how her second EP rose eighteen places higher than her first. It’s far more club focused than their previous work, which while ensuring irresistible banger after irresistible banger in that sense, can often instead encase Saleh’s creativity inside circular and rhythmical movements, rather than allowing it to take real flight and play more with the structure.

But, balls to all that, another tight twenty minutes of amazingness, and I’m looking forward to seeing them back here next year. Probably at number -oooooooooooooooooooooooh – twenty nine maybe?


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