Novelty Daughter Crafts Electronic Heartbreak With 'U Want What I Want'

Sep 8, 2017

Sometimes there's nothing better than dancing away your heartbreak. Novelty Daughter — or Brooklyn-based jazz-electronic-pop musician Faith Harding — knows as much. "U Want What I Want," the first single from her forthcoming, self-released album Inertia, is a plaintive piece of forlorn dance-pop.

Harding had already begun developing a hybrid sound on her 2013 self-titled EP and the 2016 debut full-length Semigoddess, but "U Want What I Want" indicates a decisive turn towards the electronic. The track opens with a layering of beguiling percussion, soft chiming bells and upbeat drums sliding under what sounds like drops in an electronic bucket — all making for an alluring, Caribou-channeling groove. And while all that tilts and shifts, Harding introduces alternating, shimmering synths.

The inconstancy of the song is apt for its subject matter — Inertia is a heartbreak album, and "U Want What I Want" in particular tracks a relationship's deterioration. There's an elasticity to Harding's voice, thanks to years of training as a jazz vocalist, which allows her to draw out, generously and emotively, the drama that transpires when two people who thought they were on the same side find out that they are, in fact, opposed at the core. The lyrics of "U Want What I Want" are most heartbreaking when they are simple, like the couplet "There was a time when all that I felt I felt in you / There was a time when all that I felt, you felt too.",

When the speaker hits the turn in this doomed relationship — the sobering moment of realization that things are irreconcilable — the percussion vanishes, leaving Harding vulnerable and alone. She ups her vocal flourishes, almost as if to fittingly eulogize the broken relationship. But rather than race to a finish, the track peters out — after all, it was all downhill and defeat from there.

Inertia is out Nov. 3. Pre-order here.

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