“Enchantée” by Marla Lewis
In a deluge of chic tones defined by a well-sculpted EQ, “Enchantée,” the new single from Marla Lewis, slinks into view with a heavy-handed groove that will only grow stronger in the next few minutes of play.
The instrumental introduction to the verses only lasts for a matter of seconds, but the fire that it starts beneath the bassline will continue to rage on until the music has stopped flowing from our stereo. There’s a sense of danger lurking in the background, but it’s not threatening enough to stop us from going forward. Lewis hasn’t even begun to sing yet, and already she’s trapping us in a kaleidoscopic melody tailor-made for today’s demanding music fan. The lyrics are almost dreamlike in this song, alluding to introspective themes and visualizations that are ably backed by the angelic musical landscape behind the vocal.
Although she isn’t rushing through the words, there’s an underlying urgency in Lewis’ execution that encourages us to absorb the mood of the verses while also giving unparalleled emotional agency to the narrative. The story she’s trying to tell us is only partially linguistic by design; for every line that she serenades us with, there’s a melody present to contextualize it with tangible feelings that almost any of us can relate to. It’s a complex way of writing a jazz single, but that’s what’s so fun about “Enchantée;” it’s everything we expect it to be cosmetically whilst being swaggeringly unpredictable and stunningly different where it counts the most.
There’s a moment towards the end of the track where Marla Lewis is harmonizing with the instrumentation so well that it’s hard to tell where one end of the melody begins and the other ends, which isn’t to knock the production quality at all. If anything, this just shows how in touch with the medium Lewis is in “Enchantée” and, as I learned when exploring her scene’s recent back catalog, every composition that the best in her peer group has tackled so far. With a mix as well put together as this one is, there’s no tonality being sacrificed in the name of making some A&R department happy; the woman of the hour is hitting all the right notes and forming a rhythmic slow jam as intriguing to R&B connoisseurs as it is the typical jazz consumer.
“Enchantée” concludes much in the way that it first begins; in a quiet, albeit somewhat theatrical, haze of instrumentation, and I’d be lying if I said that there’s not a strong temptation to play the song all over again when it finally succumbs to the silence. There’s no need for debate here – Marla Lewis is on top of her game and giving audiences exactly what they needed to round out the year in this latest single, and whether she reenters the studio in the next couple of months or takes some time to let her creativity expand on its own, it’s a safe bet that this isn’t going to be the last time she wins critical acclaim with a release bearing her name.