By Ryan Davis
Alternative pop artist Okay Kaya released her newest and third album ‘SAP’ on November 4th of this year. Kaya Wilkins wrote, performed, engineered, and produced the album, which features many other artists, including Adam Green, Zannie, Deem Spencer, and more. This concept album revolving around consciousness doesn’t stray too far from the sound of her previous releases; she stays consistent with her witty, abstract lyrics and dreamy vocals. Though still familiar, its experimental nature is also exciting and daring, which may make this her best release yet.
Kaya’s voice is like a distant, yet intimate, whisper that seduces her listeners into “metal arms” in the opening song ‘Mood into Object Personified.’ An ode to Dolly Parton follows, delivered from the perspective of Jolene herself. The lyrics are lovely and haunting and masterfully explore sisterhood amongst Kaya’s lulling voice, which repeats “I think you’re heaven sent.” Track 4 ‘Jazzercise’ lifts up the energy and Kaya, again, seems to whisper beautiful nonsense into the listener’s ears as a funky bass line repeats in the background. The lead single ‘Spinal Tap’ features Deem Spencer and Michael Wolever and includes fascinatingly strange and grotesque imagery of bodily fluids: “Your brain got rinsed/Cerebrospinal fluids.” The way their voices intertwine immerses the listeners into a dream-like haze that is encapsulating. The official music video for this track was also released and features the animated versions of some of Kaya’s own illustrations. Made in collaboration with Austin Lee, a New York-based visual artist, the video perfectly captures the abstract nature of the song and the album as a whole.
An interesting theme of ego and self emerges throughout this release, with lines like “Did you know without the ego, there is no narrative?” and “When you let me go, you slapstruck my ego.” Similar to her past releases, Kaya’s wit is revealed throughout many of the lyrics in ‘SAP,’ my favorite of which are “My heart’s Mike Tyson,” “She’s just my taste, my bud,” “It’s my crazy bitch prevention/It’s not just for attention,” and “This thing inside of me is constant and itching/Is that why they call it heartburn?” What is she talking about? I don’t know, but it taps into some kind of feminine rage and anguish inside of me and I love it.
Overall, ‘SAP’ is generally more laid back than Okay Kaya’s previous albums, but simultaneously consistent in its lovely absurdity.