Once the grilling is done, the beer is almost gone, the fireworks are over, and it's just another balmy summer evening, get mellow with electro-soul singer TeresaJenee. The St. Louis native's latest mixtape is the terminally chill Electric Yellow. The thick breezy retro synths might as well come with ice cubes and mood lighting. I'll wait for you to fix yourself a drink and dim the lights a little. Back? Let's get into it. The title track, the lead single, is an invitation to relax from the lyrics to the downtempo house groove. Teresa's voice is smooth, and her range huge, but she rarely pushes beyond an easygoing coo. The songs are content to waft over you like a summer breeze.
Teresa tries her hand at rapping on the likeable 'Hi America' 'Discotrap' and 'Timber.' Both songs provide a bit of a needed break from the calm. Though her strength lies in her singing, the rhymes are solid. “I know, I know, I'm not a rapper, I'm a singer—and like—relax guys I got plenty of songs for you to enjoy...” she jokes over the end of 'Hi America.' No apologies necessary. Do what you need to do.
The big highlight is the Chromeo-esque 'Romeo+Juliet.' Putting some real drive behind it, Teresa pushes the tempo, and the effects are infectious. The electro-funk production is incredibly tight. Where the other songs are after party soundtrack material, this one is the party. Throughout Electric Yellow TeresaJenee shows a serious range as an artist, exploring every depth and corner of chill. It's a credit to her talent that she can maintain such a commitment to mood without skimping on the songwriting. The album closes with the haunting and powerful 'Peace of God'. A rare moment of raw emotion from TeresaJenee as she crescendos with the line "It looks like a long road ahead / but we're gonna get there somewhere." The final note evaporates. And when it ends, like summer, beautiful and ephemeral, it's over too soon.
- Words by Nathan Leigh