I don’t know for sure if it’s the way she’s saying it or the melody backing her words up that does it, but when Ava Maybee is crooning “Saturday Night… Saturday Night…” almost in a half-whisper in her debut single “Lay Low,” it’s hard for this critic to fend off the chills. She’s only one song-deep into her discography, but in this performance Ava Maybee manages to set forth a style that feels like a unique product I don’t hear anyone else producing in 2020. She’s got the charm, and more importantly, the melodic abilities to make a real career with her creativity.
The vocal in this single puts color into the verses like nothing else possibly could have, and while I like the construction of the lyrics in “Lay Low,” I don’t know that they would have the same weightiness were they being performed by any artist other than this one. She’s tonally shaping the narrative more than she’s using elaborate poeticisms to create a mood, and when you think about the history of western pop music, this is absolutely a hallmark of the greatest in the game. Ava Maybee has it mastered out of the gate, and that’s definitely something to note in this release.
Thematically speaking, the concept behind the music video for “Lay Low” is one that has been pretty common going back over the years, but it’s met with the introduction of dreamscape elements undeniably rooted in a contemporary aesthetic over anything in the past. I definitely want Ava Maybee to experiment with the parameters of her surreal side a little more than she already has in this debut, as if she’s able to harness their power in the proper setting she could develop some of the more accessible hybrid pop tunes in her scene (ideally).
Swagger is important when trying to find your way to the top, and of course this is something that Ava Maybee clearly has to be aware of. Her discipline and self-assuredness is really effective and infectious in “Lay Low,” and I think that by showing she has the confidence to say and do whatever she wants to in the studio, she’s demonstrating a lot more versatility than others making similar music right now have. She’s up against some of the most talented players to emerge in a generation and a half, but with the weaponry she brings to this track, I’d put money on her continued success in the future.
Enchantingly alternative to the mainstream model but not so removed from the conventions of modern pop as to be standoffish or overwhelmingly hipster-friendly, “Lay Low” has made quite the big impression on me as I get to know Ava Maybee and her music. She’s got so much energy I want to see her use to her own advantage as a songwriter in future efforts, and if there’s one thing that I took away from her performance in Lay Low,” it’s that she takes this medium more seriously than most.