Oh, excuse me! Was I grinding my hips like a freek-a-leek right here in my office?
Well, I cannot help it. Because I was listening to “Refill” by Elle Varner, and it is the hottest, coldest soul jam I have heard in YEARS.
Here’s the audio, and you can watch the video here.
First and foremost, I love Varner’s voice. In one phrase, she can bounce between crystal-clear high notes and low, scratchy growls. It’s intoxicating because it seems so effortless. She’s just unfurling these incredible sounds like it ain’t no damn thing.
And can we talk about the backing track, which was produced by a guy who just calls himself “Pop?” Like a lot of current R&B tracks, it’s minimalist, built on a few drum sounds and string loops. But at the just the right time—when Elle’s getting the most passionate about her crush—it gets more intense. The building sound matches the building emotion.
Oh, and the emotion? It’s really endearing. The song is about how talking to a guy makes you feel drunk—like a “conversational lush”—and even though you’re already buzzing, you still need a refill of this guys’ voice, this guy’s time, this guy’s essence. And that sense of of attraction, that since of anticipation, is another thing that makes this song sexy. Like, truly sexy, and not just horny.
Now excuse while I swivel my hips one more time.
Previously: Oops! I want J. Lo’s greatest hits album!
Mark Blankenship tweets as @IAmBlankenship. He has written about pop music for The New York Times and NPR. Today, he’s refilled his water bottle, but that’s not very sexy.