A funny thing happened in the wake of Cassie owning the Summer of ’06 with her lithe debut chart-topper “Me & U”; despite failing to come anywhere close to matching that record’s commercial success with a steady stream of album-less follow-up singles over the years, the model-turned-singer has somehow become this super-beloved cult diva, earning rave reviews from the crit-world for nearly every new piece of audio her presence blesses while numerous DJ’s and various whatever-wave artists giddily bow at her knees.
Blame the odd appeal of her barely-there, lightweight wisp of a coo, and the way its simplistic tones add just the right touch of mystery, bubble gum, drowsy seduction and/ or icy detachment that makes her every record an alluring creation, no matter the record’s ability to make much noise on a mainstream level.
The singer’s newest, “Balcony”, should have no problem earning a spot on a Cassie’s Greatest Non-Hits compilation.
Helmed by R&B hitmaker Rico Love (whose previous songwriting/ production credits include Usher’s “There Goes My Baby” & “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)”, Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” and Nelly’s “Just A Dream”), “Balcony” heaves, sighs and pitters to the type of atmospheric nocturnal soul sound that’s become all the rage in urban music post-Drake, the brooding, sensual churn presenting an ideal frame for Cassie’s delicate vocals as she paints out the real-life sex fantasy–“We made love on a balcony/ Right there in New York City”–that’s got her catching stares from nearby tourists.
Sure, Rico’s “Marvin’s Room”-meets-“In The Air Tonight” beat mainly shades the late-night, skyscraper-laden setting, but it’s the human element of Cassie’s (and featured guest Young Jeezy‘s) contribution that brings vivid dimensions to the illustration, her gingerly released detailing (“The wind it blew through my hair love/ I was stunned by your stare…”) and snippets of self-layered harmony bringing such clarity to the moment’s sigh-inducing intimacy, you end up feeling like one of the accidental voyeurs passing by.