Arts & CultureCultural Affairs

Toronto R&B artist Charlotte Day Wilson releases album ‘Cyan Blue’

Although Wilson's vocal stylings are striking and unique, 'Cyan Blue' was ultimately repetitive in terms of narrative and sound.

Up-and-coming Toronto-born singer and songwriter Charlotte Day Wilson has dabbled in various genres including pop, soul, and contemporary R&B. It is no secret that Toronto is the Canadian hub for music, especially Canada’s R&B scene. It becomes a question of whether Toronto has planted the R&B seed in Wilson. With her sophomore album Cyan Blue, released May 3, my answer would be maybe. But, it needs more watering.

Wilson’s modest discography includes her most recent album titled ALPHA and her acclaimed EP CDW. Wilson came to prominence with her hit track “Work,” attracting the attention of iconic singer Patti Smith. It continues to be her most streamed song on Spotify. 

Cyan Blue stands as an ode to Wilson’s relationships and an intimate view into her identity. Throughout the album, the motif of longing is present, whether it’s in her relationships or personal desires.

The album starts off strong with the track “My Way.” The song opens with raw acoustic guitar, paired with Wilson’s low vocals. Together, the sounds create a soft and intimate feeling, like she’s singing directly in front of you. Ironically, the lyrics sing of rejection from the singer’s part, comparing the toxic ex-relationship to a more inviting prospective one. The chorus brings in drums and bass along with choir-like harmonies, giving the song more depth. The song picks up, becoming more upbeat and assertive in tune and in lyrics.

Wilson has unique vocal styling, which is the strongest aspect of the album. She takes her voice to different places, often starting with a low, buttery smooth timbre to a high pitch that is almost transcendent. In a vast music library that is saturated with contemporary R&B sounds, Wilson’s voice allows her to stand out.

Some notable tracks in the album are “Forever” featuring Snoh Aalegra and “New Day.” Aalegra and Wilson’s voices blend so beautifully that it doesn’t matter what they are singing about, you just want to enjoy the beautiful melody. The lyrics further a common theme on the album — loving a person who doesn’t treat them very well and knowing the relationship is doomed.

“New Day” offers something fresh and original. Wilson sings about her personal feelings regarding motherhood and coming to terms with what it will look like for her as a queer woman. The title seems to be a double entendre. The phrase “new day” represents both her desire to start a new phase of her life, and her child who would presumably carry her surname.

The first track is possibly my favourite track from the whole record. “My Way” has the most depth and interesting sound. What’s disappointing is that the remainder of the album does not deliver in the same way. Unfortunately, the rest of the album feels repetitive in terms of sound and narrative. Aside from one or two songs, I wasn’t moved or impacted in any significant way. The vocals are exemplary but they can only carry an album so much.

I listened to this album throughout a few rainy days. Cyan Blue was a fitting soundtrack. Yet, this also reflects what falls short with the album. It works as a soundtrack or background music. If the songs were in a Spotify curated playlist, I wouldn’t rush to replay.

Overall, the album feels like it’s building up to something that never truly comes. As listeners, we end up in the same place we started. Fortunately, Cyan Blue hints towards Wilson’s potential as she progresses in her career.

Related Articles

Back to top button