written by Maria Arroyo
Norwegian-raised, New York-based artist, Okay Kaya, just dropped her full-length album, Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, and in a world with songs that can sound alike, this album is anything but.
The album opens with “Baby Little Tween.” It’s a track that starts off with a softer indie and pop mix with some interesting lyrics. The synth melody is very well executed and the backing vocals overlapping the main vocals are a nice touch. “Ascend” and “Try Again” is very entrancing and haunting and really made me listen to what she has to say. “If there’s too much pressure then you need to stop and listen and try again…” She has a very important point to make and does a great job keeping her story consistent but delivering them in a different way. The ending is in a foreign language that switched between spoken word and singing and it proved to be a nice surprise.
“Insert Generic Name” is about a relationship between a boyfriend and girlfriend. The harmonies are very well done and the vocal performance is different from the first two songs. On the other hand, overstimulated, very different and warped guitar sound. I think her vocals are fighting with the instrumentation, therefore, the pairing isn’t ideal. There were some backing group vocals that we’re definitely a super cool added feature.
“Psych Ward” has a very entrancing and honest vocal part. Lyrics like, “do the rounds…I am a very patient patient…waiting…” show that she isn’t trying to hide her story or feelings and shows it in her straightforward lyrics. I do appreciate her being as honest and open as she is with her experience, but it makes it harder for a listener to connect with her. The use of so many specific details kind of hinders the listener from having a connection with Okay Kaya, unless you are actually her in the psych ward.
“Gutteral Sounds” introduced some very haunting vocals while the dissonance between her vocals and instruments made me crave it more.
The next track, “Asexual Being,” has an out of tempo beginning and very interesting choice of words for a song, but the use of cannon in the harmonies was a nice musical choice. The EDM and indie-inspired backing track is good for her style, but I wish there would have been a little more color to her sound. She continues with her raw and real vocals in her next song “Popcorn Heart.” With that being said, I did feel that certain parts of the vocals didn’t stand out because of either how she was singing it, or if it was a purposeful choice in post-production. She has a way of swinging and moving through her melodies in a very effortless way.
“Mother Nature’s Bitch” is reminiscent of an 80s upbeat so this was definitely a needed song to break up her similar-sounding tracks and keep the album moving forward. This was a wittier song, while also being the shortest of all the tracks at about 90 seconds. While “Hallelu Ya Hallelu Me” brings us back to her forward way of speaking.
“Symbiosis” has a spacey piano intro with some electric guitar arpeggiated melody. I felt there was a lot more direction with this song and it felt more well-rounded with a stronger rhythm part. The delayed vocals add some dynamics to the song as well. “Givenupitis” played off some of the same ideas that “Symbiosis” did with the different array of instruments. This is definitely something I wish would have carried on the other songs, especially since this album has a lot more songs.
“Hesevesen” is another foreign language song with a beautiful melodic line that fits beautifully with the piano arrangement. This song is my favorite of the album because it felt reminiscent of her sound while having a more focused direction. It felt like a song created out of water because of the movement and fluidity, whereas “Stonethrow” immediately changed the attention to a harder alternative rock sound, which made for these songs being back to back an interesting idea.
“Zero Interaction Ramen Bar” ends the album with a male voice, which is a change that is much needed, and the acapella multi-part instrumental intro that is executed well. This song is similar in style and emotion like the other songs so it brought her sound full circle. The folky sound mixed with the very loosely arranged music made for a breathtaking ending.
Okay Kaya is definitely a woman of her own music. I don’t think I’ve heard anything quite like her. She’s able to have these very forward conversation-like lyrics that are mixed with a sound that is not so structured. There were some parts that felt a little more out there than others, but at the end of it, I think she stayed true to her sound and what she was trying to accomplish.