“Can you turn up a bit more? “. It is with these words that begins Mid-Air Romy’s first solo album, third and last member of The xx has (seen) out on her own after the more than successful escapades of Oliver Sim and Jamie XX. With this note of intent, almost a manifesto, Romy addresses both the listener and herself. You have to turn up the sound, have a blast on the dancefloor but also get out of your chrysalis. The dark teenager with a sulky pout has turned into a real dancing queen. Like Georgia, Romy seems to want to tell us with this disc composed largely during confinement that the party may not be eternal and that the music that accompanies it must therefore be euphoric and ecstatic. . In 2023, the cool kids will know how to put away their black twelve-hole Doc Martens to put on flamboyant platform shoes. Putting on the face, it’s over, it’s time to love and party.
The English knows it, we can dance on everything but not with anyone. For her debut album, she did not take half measures and armed herself with heavyweight producers, also long-time traveling companions, such as Fred again.., Jamie XX or Stuart Price (aka Les Digital Rhythms, Jacques Lu Cont or Zoot Woman). Mid-Air refers to the feeling of suspended moment and weightlessness that occurs when one falls in love. If it evokes of course the theme of love, this album is at the same time festive, intimate and political and also deals with mourning, relationships, identity and sexuality.
With his deaf beats and his crystalline and melancholy voice, Loveher welcomes us to familiar ground in the purest The xx style before making a more pop and more club turn, which will serve as a guideline for the rest of the album. If the sauce takes well on this title as well as on The Sea, Strong, Enjoy Your Life Or She’s On My Mind, the other songs leave us a bit unsatisfied, too smooth, too conventional, too mainstream. Romy has lent her pen to pop stars like Dua Lipa or Halsey and we can clearly feel their influence here. We must not be choosy in front of quality mainstream dance-pop (because in the genre we remain at the top of the basket) but we clearly prefer the handsome-weird universe of his sidekick Oliver Sim or that too frankly hedonistic than creative of Jamie XX.
Half convincing, half fig half grape and although built over time and steeped in good intentions, Mid-Air turns out to be only a semi-success, its little glossy filter preventing us from really feeling the emotions. But the problem may be with us and our incorrigible mania for thinking, as in High Fidelity, Nick Hornby’s novel, that good English pop is necessarily made up of “heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss”.