Snoh Aalegra advocates for being forthright about your emotions. The Iranian-Swedish singer – who was a close protégé of Prince prior to his death in 2016 – has spent years capturing the biggest feelings, from the breathy headiness of lust on 2017’s stunning ‘FEELS’ to the gravity-defying nausea of a new relationship on ‘Ugh, Those Feels Again’, released two years later. It’s an attribute that has long defined her candid songwriting: “I didn’t mean to fall in love/Now that I need you, baby/Tell me we’ll never be apart”, she cooed on the latter’s ‘I Didn’t Mean To Fall In Love’.
Aalegra began writing songs in English, her third language, at the age of nine; the practice provided relief from bullying throughout her school years, and later became a way to dissect the many new experiences – romance, heartbreak, and solitude – that accompany young adulthood. After landing a developmental record deal with Sony at 13, she learned how to carry herself through with a nimble, sneakily powerful vocal style that encouraged listeners to lean in and pay attention to her vulnerable lyrics.
That’s the effect that Aalegra has on her bright and searching third full-length effort, ‘Temporary Highs In The Violet Skies’. From the spacey 808s of ‘Taste’ to the delicately layered harmonies of ‘Tangerine Dream’, she shows off her voice at its rawest over impeccable production, and even flutes up to a gentle falsetto on ‘Just Like That’.
‘Lost You’, a slick ode to the importance of learning to let go, allows her tender and forgiving vocals to whirl around a lush R&B arrangement. But it’s on ‘Dying 4 Ur Love’ where she really enthralls: a woozy number that gently taps into G-funk’s laid-back vibe, the song is effortlessly held together by the way she rarely rises above a sultry hush.
Throughout the rest of the album, Aalegra leans into her hit-making potential. ‘Neon Peach’ employs California’s Tyler, The Creator for a typically exuberant verse, while ‘In Your Eyes’, with its cheeky whoops and booming bassline, sees her occasionally stretch into a rap-like cadence for a repeated, mantra-like refrain of “Just know I don’t need your attention!”. It’s one of Aalegra’s most commanding moments.
‘Temporary Highs In The Violet Skies’ doesn’t broaden Aalegra’s sound or lyrical content greatly, and there are certainly points where she could push things further forward. But in continuing to be so open and expressive about love, hope, and loss, she makes it feel possible for the rest of us.
- Release date: July 9
- Record label: Artium Recordings