Cooly G Wait ‘Til Night
Fans of Cooly G (a.k.a. Merissa Campbell) have come to expect certain things from her […]
Fans of Cooly G (a.k.a. Merissa Campbell) have come to expect certain things from her music at this point—sultry, rippling house, laced with a lot of dubby whispering of sweet nothings—and Wait ‘Til Night, her latest LP, still bears traces of her signature sound. However, the album’s title is no joke. One could swear that Campbell used to be more subtle. A few years ago, her scattered drums would form the backbone to a repeated “missing you,” or some commonplace phrase like that. It was possible to listen to her tracks during the daytime. The content on Wait ‘Til Night, however, sounds wildly out of place anytime before sunset, because the new record finds Campbell constantly pinpointing a very specific eroticism.
Cooly G’s rhythms are as slinky as ever on Wait ‘Til Night, but her sound continues to evolve away from the house motifs on which she first made her name. Soft, drifting Rhodes chords have been replaced with a more digitized, almost new age palette, while the drums, broken as they are, resemble slow R&B production more than anything that could conceivably be mixed into an uptempo set. It’s pretty obvious that isn’t Campbell’s point here anyway—Wait ‘Til Night is something close to an R&B album—but the shift is worth noting. Adding to the effect is the fact that the LP’s track lengths now hover around a radio-friendly three-and-a-half minutes; moreover, Campbell’s lyrics are newly upfront, less suggestions now than demands.
The main danger of writing a “sex record” is that mileage varies given how skilled the narrator is at being sexy. Less is usually more, which is probably how Campbell convinced herself that she could write these tracks in the first place—after all, her earlier work deftly balanced ethereal, romantic vocality with a tough, complex pulse, offering plenty of sex appeal without being over the top. Wait ‘Til Night is so horny, however, that its songs run the risk of blurring together, as Campbell’s lyrics do little to distinguish one track from the next. A sample list: “Got me so deep/you’ve got me weak/I can’t sleep ’cause of you boy,” “do it all day long with you,” “you smelled so good,” “penetrate that,” “touch my body.” Each of the album’s 12 tracks contains at least a few lines in this vein. That said, as stock “sexy” as these lyrics are, Campbell does accentuate them with enough groans and whispers to prevent things from sounding too robotic. Ultimately, though, Wait ‘Til Night remains a tough proposition. Turned down low enough, as dusk falls or late at night, its lustfulness does feel more natural. Cooly G is still present here, but maybe she’s a bit too present to fully elicit the kind of seduction she’s singing about.