On “Healing,” a new single from U.K. singer Arlissa, orchestral strings introduce waves of pop production and R&B vocal stylings that crash together, resulting in an invigorating anthem. An unpretentious guitar part adds a human touch, and the programmed snaps feel like fresh rain on dry skin. “I thought I needed someone I could run to, but I needed healing,” Arlissa belts. Inadvertently or not, she’s reminding people to take a break and reconnect with their souls.
For the charismatic performer, a lot of growth happened between the moment she discovered her calling — during a viewing of Purple Rain at 14 years old — and her mid-twenties. Put off by what she characterizes as an earlier label’s attempts to manufacture their version of a “star,” Arlissa went DIY. Now, she’s got a deal with Def Jam and she’s coming into her own, taking her time — and dabbling in ayahuasca, the psychedelic substance that she has said inspired “Healing.”
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The song makes its entrance as the world forces its inhabitants to slow down in response to COVID-19, a coincidence that feels like perfect timing. For many struggling to pass the time at home, the concept of “routine” has been thrown out the window, and the calluses of everyday life can finally start to smoothen out. While the circumstances are dire, some have an opportunity to face their demons and find self-acceptance. In modern pop, so often lackluster and whiny, songs rooted in revival and renewal feel more powerful than they have in a long time.
“Healing” reminds listeners that they might just be able to shatter the zombie-like hold of Instagram likes and fake Twitter news. It’s a welcome message of optimism in a dark time.
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