Delacey, pop hit-writer for the likes of Halsey and The Chainsmokers, dropped the album last Thursday night via a quarantine-friendly Livestream. The characteristic moodiness of her existing work evolves into something much more personal in the 13-song debut titled “Black Coffee.”
Delacey bent down to read the comments on her release party Livestream while accompanying guitarist James Alan Ghaleb of Valley Boy plucked out a riff for the next tune. She responded to commenters with bashful sarcasm and a wide pixelated smile. Even under pandemic constraints, the L.A.-based songstress puts on an intimate show.
The album, released under L.A. Reid’s HITCO and Delacey’s own label Delicate Flower, centers heartbreak in all its stages, from the helplessness of watching love slip away to the unbridled rage and eventual melancholy of splitting up.
The songs lean towards pop but avoid the trap of big label blandness. Delacey is not afraid to harness painful experiences and let her lyrics cut deep. She unpacks the messiness of past loves, connecting deeply, sometimes unexpectedly, with the experiences of her audience.
The reception of songs like “No One’s Gonna Ever Love U,” a scathing ballad about a toxic old boyfriend, came as a surprise to her.
“I was really scared that everyone was going to think I was really mean and crazy and a murderer after that came out,” she said. “But people really did resonate with it….and I’m like ‘Other people were in fucked up relationships too, so that’s comforting.’”
The rest of the music follows, each song drawing from familiar structures and melodies to achieve earworm status. Even the album’s deeper cuts like “Unlovable” and “Break Up Slow Dance”, nestled between the singles, have impressive replayability. Where many records hit a lull in the middle of the tracklist, “Black Coffee” achieves a respectable peak.
The album, recorded in just three weeks in a basement studio in Brooklyn, also avoids overproduction. There’s enough to groove to, but the real focus is on Delacey’s words and the raw emotion behind them.
“I grew up listening to so many different genres but my favorite was mainly a mix of 60s and 90s, always on the grungier side…So I really wanted my feel to be grungy and live-sounding,” she said. “We recorded all the instruments live and we barely edited things. We barely edited my vocals.”
A battle-scarred member of the music industry already, Delacey plans to continue evolving her career. Her future transformation may even include signing and developing artists herself under her Delicate Flower label.
“My mom always called me her delicate little flower while being very sarcastic because I’m the opposite of that,” Delacey laughed.
The origins of the name feel fitting for Delacey’s gritty intensity wrapped in pop clothes.
You can listen to “Black Coffee” here.
Since shows and tour plans are canceled, for the time being, Delacey plans to continue performing for her fans virtually. There’s also more “Black Coffee”-related material to come—merchandise designed by the artist herself, a vinyl version of the record, and plenty of videos and visuals recorded in the before time.