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  • Conner Pettit

Review: "i don’t need u" - Kenzie Cates


Younger kids often dabble with the thrilling yet innocent “trust fall game”, one person eagerly preparing to catch as the other blindly falls into the void. While the stakes are relatively low, worst case—scraping the carpet or haphazardly being caught—the real life consequences can be much scarier. Kenzie Cate’s new song “i don’t need u” describes a trust fall into an actual cult (a doomsday cult), and the journey that follows—one between self-trust and self-doubt. Although most of us haven’t fallen victim to a cult before (quite yet, hopefully never), people can likely relate to feeling lost or swept away in a relationship that turned toxic. She says “I was using you as the truth”, similar to how (many of us) can start worshiping false prophets, since, sometimes, trusting ourselves can be the scariest unknown.


Beginning with psychedelic piano chords and driving drum kicks, the song immediately feels confidence-boosting, tempting me to strut, dancing to the simple yet effective beat. The production introduces these sweet-sounding lofi hits while Kenzie quickens her vocal delivery, helping the song create added momentum. The track breaks into a vibey, alien-like, electronic melody, complemented by the song’s hook “I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t need u”, hinting at the ritualistic nature of her experience. As the song develops, I really appreciate the distorted, space-radio sound effects along with Kenzie’s diminished vocal harmonies—the song ending with piano notes that morph into sounding like distant rain.


Vancouver-based singer, songwriter, Kenzie Cates, uploaded her first single “Black Magic” to Spotify in 2019, followed by varied yet refreshing takes on bluesy, modern pop. From the poignant “Just Ain’t You” (2021) to the groovy, Lorde-inspired “Ruin it” (2022), her music combines bedroom pop vocals with experimental, Lo-fi production. Highly ranked at Nashville’s International Annual Song Contest and Toyota’s Searchlight competition, Kenzie is no stranger to great songwriting—a skill that has garnered the new artist 6,300+ Spotify listeners, and growing. Her recent single “Right About Me”— starting with oceanic guitar, airy vocals, and lyrics of self-doubt—sets the stage for her darkly relatable, aesthetic sound. Without hesitation, I have been re-playing her songs while driving to work, loving her ability to quickly capture an emotion (with an innovative spin). I hope she continues creating!


Written By: Conner Pettit



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