I’m no EDM luddite, nor an adherent, but I believe I’ve heard enough music to know quality when I hear it. Nik:11’s new single “Pillow Talk” shines.
The reasons are numerous. The Detroit native begins, however, with the song’s foundation. She plucked Sylvia Robinson’s 1973 R&B classic “Pillow Talk” from the past and refurbished it with producer Chicco Bennett. The results produce unfettered musical magic. She further displays her creativity with the song’s self-produced and self-authored video. Nik:11 has a bracing vision for her musical art that she’s communicating with increased confidence each time out, and “Pillow Talk” strikes me as her boldest and most assured moment yet.
Other reasons are apparent as well. The energy level of this performance is off the charts. It doesn’t waste time lulling listeners into hearing the song out. Instead, “Pillow Talk” plunges us straight away into Nik:11’s imaginative musical world with its insistent beat and attendant synthesizer and keyboard work laid over the top. It’s a restless, crackling, and laser-focused arrangement that connects with you physically and benefits from Bennett’s outstanding production.
The structure of the song is another glaring reason for its success. The long introduction and especially the breakdown coming a little after the three minutes and thirty seconds mark are crucial points in the performance. I hear the latter, in particular, propelling the song to even greater peaks. Nik:11 never neglects to bring the audience along with her, however, and we’re glad to take the journey.
Her vocals are well worth the price of purchase alone. She brings genuine singing chops into play on this track rather than the vocals acting as a mere afterthought. I even hear a lot of her Detroit upbringing in the soulful R&B style she brings to each line. There’s a level of intimacy in this performance, as well, that will help each individual listener feel like she’s performing for them alone.
The video, on the other hand, emphasizes a wide frame of reference. Anyone, no matter how they approach this song, will find entertainment value in the clip. It tells a far different story than the song does, to be sure, but Nik:11’s concept for the video is every bit as clear as the song’s subject. She proves herself to be a capable director and producer as well. The abiding popularity of science fiction (or fact?) will make this an appealing visual experience for many viewers, and it holds your interest from beginning to end.
The song is over five minutes long but breezes by listeners in seemingly half that time. It does give her the chance to stretch out as a creator with more than ample returns on your investment of time. Nik:11 has been consistently hitting home runs with her work since her debut, and there’s no indication that it’s any different with this new single. “Pillow Talk” is, arguably, her finest effort yet, and I felt invigorated by the track each step of the way. I’m confident that, given the chance, you’ll feel the same. Kim Muncie