Scarlet Parke is a pop and soul singer out of Seattle, Washington. While she classifies herself as pop, there is something distinctly hip hop about her stylings. She would be the perfect accompanist for any rapper, and even as a stand-alone act, she is an absolutely astounding artist.
In her latest track, “Anxious,” off her 2019 album “Flight Risk,” Scarlet Parke delivers delicate, highly intonated signing, without the over-styling common to modern singers. Her voice has the tinny, metallic resonance of Jessie Reyez, and the soothing low tones of SZA. She sounds leagues above someone in the underground, with studio polish and a charismatic demeanor usually only found in seasoned artists. Her sound is decidedly minimalist, low on the frills and flourish, but when she does decide to belt a few notes, she almost sounds like Beyonce. High notes trill throughout, giving this song an upbeat, pulsing quality. The beat for this song is incredible, and suites her vocal runs perfectly, begging the question, which came first: The beat or the vocal takes? Either way, the singing and the instrumental play off each other perfectly. In the bridge, she sounds especially like Jessie Reyez, one of the most exciting artists in the pop scene. The beat transitions into a beautifully filtered outro segment with highly synthesized vocals providing an ambient background chorus for a few bars before the song ends.
The sub bass/808’s are beautifully punctuated in the song’s intro, complete with snaps providing the minimalist rhythmic section, which picks up a little midway through, adding a trilling chorus of high hats to serve as the only drum build, which, in a song like this, really works. It was a bold move, but the right one and credit is definitely due to this track’s producer. The whole compostion builds in complexity as Parke comes in with her first vocal runs. The punctuated nature of her vocals, in the beginning, reminds me a lot of the stylings of Dua Lipa, proving that Parke knows how to take a bit from all the most talented artists in the pop scene. A bass drop and a trilling dream-sequence like sample piece add interest to the transtion between intro and verse. This instrumental reminds me a bit of the one on Billie Eilish’s song, “You Should See Me In A Crown” and it is to hip hop what most SZA or Post Malone songs are. It may not be hip hop in the strictest sense, but it’s a close cousin. This sound could integrate well with hip hop features, and I think Parke would be a natural choice as a chorus singer for any of the prominent rappers in today’s mainstream.
Scarlet Parke’s lyrics are enigmatic and vague, which is standard in pop lyricism. But her words leave a little more to sink your teeth into than a lot of pop songs do, which occasionally go from being vague to being entirely vapid. Parke’s lyrics never seem to do that, always giving us just enough information to piece together the uncertain framework of a story she is trying to tell. In her song “Anxious,” beautifully sparse lyrics hit on the keynotes of narrative, with lines like, “I need more of a hit/ Make it drip with the licks/ As it rolls off your lips/ And your hips go down/ Like your expectations/ All you need is patience/ Why are you so anxious, anxious, anxious?” We definitely get the gist, but what’s left to the imagination only further stoke our interest and fascination. Scarlet Parke is so incredibly talented, listening to her track “Anxious,” leaves me with only one resounding question in mind: How is this girl not famous already? There’s nothing she doesn’t have, and with everything going for her, she seems absolutely destined for stardom. Parke would have to make a lot of wrong moves not to make it in her respective field, and with tracks like this one, she could probably stop making moves all together and still make it. I look forward to watching her as she progresses in her career because I’m confident she will hit the mainstream soon. She should be there already. I don’t think there’s anything I can even say about this in terms of constructive criticism. While it’s not hip hop in it’s truest form, it definitely vibes with the same thematic overtones, and I think she would pair well with our genre. Scarlet Parke is going to be a household name in the next three to five years. You heard it here first.