Samantha Urbani, “1 2 3 4”

Impose Automaton

Two years ago if someone in Bushwick told you they were going to go watch Friends, they probably meant they were heading to 285, not home to hide under the covers with Netflix. But times have changed. Countless DIY spaces have closed, Bushwick real estate is going for about a grand a room, and Friends has been defunct for some time, with all the members sinking their energy into other projects. Charismatic frontwoman Samantha Urbani has kept busy working in private and collaborating on Blood Orange tracks with boyfriend Devonté Hynes, and “1 2 3 4” is the first solo song she’s publicly posted in a while. It’s a bright R&B pop jam that channels early Madonna, written, arranged, and co-produced by Urbani, featuring funky bass by former Friends bandmate Matthew Molnar (Kissing is a Crime), piano and horns by Hynes, and additional production by Sam Mehran (Hynes’s former bandmate in Test Icicles). Urbani has subtly woven liberationist messages into pop songs on Friends tracks such as “Friend Crush” and “I’m His Girl”, and she keeps up that tradition here, calmly telling off abusers: “I know you’ve done this before, you’ve mastered the equation / but you’ll only hurt yourself, not me / and anyone you’ve done it to before, you’ll also bear the weight of / I don’t need to settle the score / you are the perpetrator / you’ll judge yourself, you’ll never be free.”

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