Severine – Not Obsessed
“Not Obsessed” will likely be a moment Severine looks back on as her pivotal release, the one that brought her the sort of widespread exposure she deserves. The production, courtesy of Anthony “Rocky” Gallo, ( Norah Jones, Common, John Legend) does a surefooted job of moving through distinctly different musical textures and highlights the song’s strengths in a stylish way. Much of “Not Obsessed” purrs along in a loose, warm groove, but its transforms at a few key points and has rousing crescendos that Severine and the production artfully handle. The electronic music in her music isn’t quite as pervasive during this song as it likely is elsewhere on her forthcoming debut EP, but there’s an unquestionably modern quality surrounding this performance while still obeying the fundamentals of what makes a good song. This American born, French raised performing artist is young and poised for a long career based on the value of this performance alone.
It begins with a short run on piano before the electronic instruments exert their influence. Despite the influence of Portishead and Radiohead on her music, Severine certainly doesn’t opt for overwhelming the listener, but there are some bracing crescendos that come through guaranteed to capture the attention of many listeners. There’s something quite signature about the sound and evolution of this song, but Severine clearly makes a great effort to fashion this performance in such a way that it will have widespread commercial appeal. She does so without ever pandering to the audience and trying to earn their love with vocal shortcuts or post production trickery. She gives this performance with deeply emotive honesty and doesn’t shirk away from the difficult feelings dramatized in the lyrics or her obligation to musically entertain listeners.
It’s on that final point that she builds some of her best work. She brings a jazz singer sort of thoughtfulness to this track that few, if any, of her contemporaries could hope to match or exceed. It makes her another instrument in the song’s musical array and her voice blends in quite well with the electronic and traditional instruments. She doesn’t attempt to lead or control the song with her voice – instead, you can hear the concerted effort she makes from the outset to make her singing part of the song’s larger overall package and her success in doing so is a key element in making this performance so memorable. She has a fair amount of lyrical content to tackle in the song, but it noticeably pays greater attention to the musical side of the equation and the balance between these elements is another crucial factor imbuing this song with its character. “Not Obsessed” will likely always rank as one of the most important releases of Severine’s career. It introduces her strengths in the best possible light and finds a satisfying accord between fulfilling the listener’s needs as well as her own. The personal nature of this performance cannot be denied. Severine brings great passion and even some sensuality to this piece that helps makes “Not Obsessed” a supremely entertaining musical work.