Skylar Grey is like the silent mastermind behind many of pop's biggest hits. It's always a welcome treat, as a result, when she uses her expertise for her own projects. Her latest album Natural Causes is due out on September 23, and she's shared the next single from it, 'Come Up For Air'.
Skylar Grey always has a certain swagger in her music. 'Come Up For Air' has all of that channeled through the powerful beat with a phenomenal snare sound. The song is produced by none other than Eminem, with whom she has worked with in the past, so it's only appropriate that the beat is produced to perfection. Her silky vocals sweetly flow in a longing way - according to Grey, this track is a break-up song in which the narrator is still in love, so much so that they will wait forever for the other half to return, even until death. The instrumental is minimal, the drum beat being the primary element. The song also has a low bass synth and reverberating keys that provide for a dreamy atmosphere. Background guitar also adds some character to the end of the track.
Skylar Grey best attribute is her songwriting ability, and while this song may not be the most subtle, it's still heavy hitting. The calmness of the vocals are heartbreaking in of itself, as if she really does have the patience to wait an eternity for her partner to return. It's particularly powerful in the bridge, in which she sings, "And even if this really is the end / I'm sure I'll be alone until I'm dead / Cause no one else will ever quite compare / To them it wouldn't be fair... If you're my Jack then I'm your Rose / And I promise I'll never ever let go," all the while she retains the same patient and calm vocal style, and that's really dark and just plain sad.
'Come Up For Air' is a pretty and beautiful song; the only thing it's missing is an emotional peak or climax - a release. It ends feeling just as restrained emotionally as the beginning, but it's darkness lies in that fact, and that's the character of the track. Skylar Grey seems to be taking a less upfront approach to Natural Causes and a more natural approach. This song is a quiet one, but it's message is all the same, if not stronger than if it was more upfront. Her album has a lot of potential, but the direction isn't clear just yet. The wait's only another few weeks, though. That mystery will be solved soon enough.
Rating: 85 / 100