Initially compressed into a side-chaining pattern that ensures it’s a pulsing, breathing, living mix, Simple features some supremely laid-back vocals from Stephh V, which suit the summery synths wonderfully well. You can almost imagine Stephh reclining next to the microphone to deliver them.
Harmonically recalling both Anita Baker’s Sweet Love and Hall & Oates’ I Can’t Go For That (particularly for the twinkling synth lines) from the 80s, Simple relies on some clever production chops around the vocals to keep the song’s narrative driving forwards.
It doesn’t hurt that we get a terrific and characterful delivery from Stephh for the lyrics to hang from. Essentially using the combination of conversational, laid-back delivery for verses, and then up-close and double tracked, widespread vocals for other sections, we’re swiftly drawn into the lyrics: ‘There you go / Your chest on me / Front row, front row / Then you back it up on me / Pronto, pronto’.
The bass guitar, sometimes spacious and sometimes delightfully syncopated with the rest of the backing track, enjoys a playful relationship with Simple, and is anything but. It’s wonderfully human, showcasing great feel amongst the programmed rhythms. Couple this tightness with the behind-the-beat vocal delivery and the track oozes confidence and class.
The breakdown sections put flange all over the vocals, lending them a pensive quality, and then the full sound kicks back in, keeping things dynamically interesting.
Simple is a compact, cool and restless three minutes that’s as fresh as you like and over far too soon.