Released: October 27
Returning to music with a triumphant new project, V V Brown delivers a striking social commentary on her brilliantly diverse album, ‘Am I British Yet?’
Six years after she walked away from the industry, the singer-songwriter returns with her fourth studio set and a body of work that combines music with spoken words and poetry.
“This album is not a place for me to harbour fame or validation from any person who has its strings tied in old industry tropes, casting musical efforts into pits of stats and quotas,” she says, insisting: “Every melody, every word, every artwork has meaning.”
Opening song Break Of The Night is a fine example of this innovative approach, delivered as a rally speech underpinned by chant-like vocals echoing the message at hand, all to the pulsing beat of the drum.
Across the LP, Brown incorporates a multitude of influences, from rap (Marginalised, Black British, Swallowing My Pride) to jazz (Twisted), reggae (Just Be Good To Me) and neo soul (Mission), conjuring a musical soundscape that not only results in her most sonically-vibrant work to date, but feeds into the themes of cultural fusion that run through the narrative of its lyrics.
A collaborative project at its core, ‘Am I British Yet?’ also features a number of poetry readings, set to music, building a sense of community that speaks to the shared experience of Blackness that’s innate to the record.
While it’s commercial hits like Shark In The Water that Brown’s best known for, this time around she places no focus on radio-friendly chart fodder, with each song curated specifically for its role in the wider project and sequenced to serve the narrative.
A divisive project, surely, but the material here is more than an album; it’s a mirror, reflecting the cultural landscape of a country with one foot in the past. The beauty, then, of the record is in its fusion of styles and transcendence of any one culture, that symbolises the greatness that can be born of unity, if only we take the time step back and appreciate it.