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  • Giavanna Gradaille

Review: "Narcissistic" - Wendi Mancaku

The word narcissism is believed to originate from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Narcissism comes from the third book of the epic through the myth of Narcissus. Within the myth, readers see the Greek youth Narcissus fall in love with his own reflection in a still pond as a punishment for rejecting all the love within his life. Narcissus is so enamored with the image of himself that he’s unable to move or eat, forever yearning for his own love while withering away. The myth of Narcissus highlights how narcissistic behavior can be destructive to those who love the narcissist and the narcissist themselves. Wendi Mancaku’s “Narcissistic” is a modern retelling of the myth that centers around her experience of being entwined with a narcissist.

“Narcissistic” is a dark-pop single about learning from past romantic relationships at its core. In this case, it’s knowing when you’re within the reach of a narcissist; and recognizing their patterns to prevent falling into their grasp. The single opens with a leading guitar melody with a recurring hook that leaves a listener wanting more – very similar to how narcissists make their victims long for an ounce of their affection and time. Alongside the melody we also get the opening verse from Mancaku that details her former partner possessing similar qualities to the Greek youth, Narcissus. Even identifying how this partner faked moments of intimacy like gazing into each other’s eyes, when in reality they were much more interested in seeing their “own reflection”. The second verse then grounds listeners and the confusing relationship into modernity by demonstrating how narcissists operate. They “move so fast” within their connections to keep up the illusion of closeness – it veils their self-absorption. The chorus then calls out the narcissist while Mancaku proclaims she won’t fall their tactics again. Here Mancaku’s vocals are sung in unison with the guitar hooks, giving the chorus a significant source of power. Throughout the chorus, listeners hear the gradual inclusion of other musical elements as Mancaku steps into her power to stand off against this narcissist and any future ones. The addition of the synths can be heard in the chorus’s beginning, the cymbals halfway through get listeners excited for the upcoming drums, and its end leads us into smooth bass line guitar and drum notes for the third verse. The third and fourth verses see Mancaku wising up to the game narcissists play. Here, the song switches its leading instrument from the guitar to the bass line guitar to carry the melody; it symbolizes the shift within this power dynamic. Mancaku now has the narcissist pining for her attention. From there, the song flourishes with our artist’s no-nonsense attitude. “Narcissistic” shapes up to be an anthem of empowerment for those needing the strength to untangle themselves from their narcissist and keep them at bay.

Wendi Mancaku is an Albanian singer, songwriter, and producer currently based in New York. “Narcissistic” was made in collaboration with Sunday Dinner, a band and writing collective consisting of Matthew Castello on keys, Nick Spat on guitar, Joe Novello on drums, and Vince Guiliano on bass. This isn’t the first collaboration between the two musical forces, though; they also worked on the funky dance-pop single, “Still Want My Love”. But fans might best recognize Mancaku from Festivali i Këngës – Festival of Music – or simply FiK, an annual music competition hosted by Radio Televizioni Shqiptar in Albania. Mancaku was a semi-finalist on FiK’s 58th season in 2019. She dazzled listening audiences with her single, “Ende”, a heartbreaking piano ballad that explores the lingering feelings one has for a former lover as it blossoms with expressive synths. Since then, the artist’s sound has evolved into a gorgeous blend of pop, neo-soul, and R&B which can be heard in singles like 2022’s “Your Name” and 2021’s “Falling”. If you’ve enjoyed Wendi Mancaku’s latest single as much as I have, show them some virtual love in the form of streams, likes, and follows.

Written by Giavanna Gradaille



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