First Listen: Tanika Charles is "Frustrated" but sounds great

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    Photo by May Truong

    (March 24, 2022) Tanika Charles may be new to me, but she’s been working hard and making critically acclaimed music up north for a minute. Twice nominated for Juno Awards, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys, Charles has released two good albums with a third, Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly set to drop in early April. Now Charles gives us a preview of “Frustrated,” one of the singles from the upcoming disc. And if the rest of the album is like this cut, Charles might be in line for a third Juno nomination.

    “Frustrated,” a song that features the kind of  interplay between Charles and her backing vocalist that recalls some of the best R&B from the 70s, tells the story of two people who can’t connect because they aren’t in the same place physically or emotionally. The frustration that the situation brings stems from the fact that although the person in absent in body he is very much present in mind.

    (March 24, 2022) Tanika Charles may be new to me, but she’s been working hard and making critically acclaimed music up north for a minute. Twice nominated for Juno Awards, Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys, Charles has released two good albums with a third, Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly set to drop in early April. Now Charles gives us a preview of “Frustrated,” one of the singles from the upcoming disc. And if the rest of the album is like this cut, Charles might be in line for a third Juno nomination.

    “Frustrated,” a song that features the kind of  interplay between Charles and her backing vocalist that recalls some of the best R&B from the 70s, tells the story of two people who can’t connect because they aren’t in the same place physically or emotionally. The frustration that the situation brings stems from the fact that although the person in absent in body he is very much present in mind.

    The track sports a breezy, mid-tempo steppers arrangement that belies “Frustrated” theme. Charles was on her way to hitting her stride after her first two releases, 2016’s Soul Run and The Gumption, which came out in 2019. The release of the latter album came just as the world entered a once in 100 year pandemic, so her plans to tour and promote the project had to be stopped. Instead of stewing on her bad fortune, Charles got to work on her next project.

    As Charles describes the impact that the covid imposed isolation had on her, it would not be surprising if “Frustrated” was inspired in some part by being separated from all that inspired her:

    I was in some dark places. My energy was stagnant and the only reliable constant was this perpetual uncertainty. I had gone from feeling like I was everywhere to only being in one place. From seeing so many new faces, to only my own, in the mirror, everyday and having to face that. Getting back to work on music allowed me to explore these feelings through the format I know best. And I wanted to make sure that when things were ready to resume, I’d be ready with something new for my audience too.” 

    Mission accomplished. Check out “Frustrated” here.

    By Howard Dukes

    Tanika Charles - "Frustrated"

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