Sevyn Streeter broke through with her sultry second single, ‘It Won’t Stop’ in 2013. Since then she’s released two EPs and several singles. Streeter started the Girl Disrupted album in 2014 and has spoken of her frustrations with numerous delays that were seemingly out of her control. Record label issues in the R&B world seem to be a common occurrence (just ask Tinashe and Cassie). Now that it’s finally being released, the full-length debut album, is a convincing statement about the artist she wants to be.
Streeter addresses the issues of getting the album released on the powerful spoken word intro to, ‘Livin’. She states, “and so here I am you know towards the end of finishing my album, creating my album and then that’s where I went through probably the most craziest s**t I ever went through in my whole life”. She’s incredibly open and honest and reveals her struggles with depression.
Streeter has amassed an impressively consistent run of singles over the last four years. There are so many that it would be unrealistic to expect her to include them all, so we don’t get, ‘It Won’t Stop’ or ‘Prolly’. We do get the Whitney Houston sampling, ‘My Love For You’ which hasn’t lost any of its appeal since it appeared last summer. The song is filled with nice production touches such as the deep bass and twinkling synths. Even better is last December’s, ‘Before I Do’ which is a stunning tale of wanting to know where she stands with a potential love interest. The way she sings, “I heard you got a girlfriend” is an irresistible hook. It has a mellow acoustic feel that would fit on Sade’s delicate 1992 masterpiece, Love Deluxe.
You can hear the influence of 80s and 90s R&B sprinkled over Girl Disrupted. On the lush,‘Soon As I Get Home’, Streeter is heavily indebted to Ghost Town DJ’s classic 1996 single, ‘My Boo’. It’s the obvious hit, with a catchy chorus and sense of familiarity that would sound refreshing on the radio over the summer. ‘Ol Skool’ is an effective tribute to these eras, with shoutouts to Keith Sweat, Michael Jackson and New Edition.
Through her previous releases, Streeter has proved herself to a deeply expressive and versatile performer who can adapt her personality with ease. Girl Disrupted’s only weakness is towards the second half of the album, where the hazy atmospherics don’t let individual songs get room to breathe. The appearance of, ‘Prolly’ would have broken up the similarly paced, ‘Been a Minute’ and ‘Translation’. It’s clear Streeter wanted to make the album a cohesive piece and mostly it works, though a change in mood would have been welcome here.
The last three songs flow well and give the album a satisfying conclusion. The moody, ‘Fallen’ features a minimal electro backing and cameos from Cam Wallace and Ty Dolla $ign. ‘How Many’ follows, with Streeter asking, “how many bitches are you telling you love them?” She switches her voice from pleading to robotic over one of the album’s most addictive beats. ‘Everything In Me’ is an empowering finale that’s one of the most emotionally raw songs here.
Girl Disrupted is a fine debut that does justice to Streeter’s obvious talent. It may have been a stressful journey to get it released, but hopefully the result fuels her creativity further. It should prove to her label that her vision should be trusted and that it would be cruel to make her listeners wait another four years for a follow-up.