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  • Giavanna Gradaille

Review: "Player's Fool (Who Am I?)" - Elle Baez

Summer is finally here, but I’m a little nervous to see what characters and events the heat brings out. Warm weather always gives folks an excuse to act up and act out. Instead of looking anxiously towards the future, I’m seeking comfort in the past. I want nostalgia served up hot to me. I want to be able to envision myself in films like Crooklyn and Licorice Pizza. So, I’m declaring it a retro summer; the songs that have been released lately would certainly agree with that declaration, too. And Elle Baez’s newest single is no different. “Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)” transports listeners back to the 70s at the height of soul music.

“Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)” embodies what falling in love feels like when you’re used to being fiercely independent and on your own. The single opens with background vocals that reverberate, beckoning the strong visuals and experience of being inside a swanky jazz lounge. And this is exactly what audiences can expect to see in the opening moments of the song’s accompanying visualizer as well. It’s truly incredible when an artist is able to make listeners envision the visual concept they had in mind for their own song. The single then brings us out of our reverie with a slowed bass melody as Baez delivers the opening verse. Here we learn about Baez’s character: this is someone filled with confidence that knows her worth and doesn’t second guess herself – this is the archetype of the independent womxn. But our artist has been struck by cupid’s arrow and feeling different because of it. The visualizer shows how falling in love can feel like an otherworldly, out-of-body experience through Baez’s transformation into an angel. Love has quite literally lifted our artist “off the ground” and got them floating around. The chorus raises an important question, though: who are you when you’re in love? This line of questioning is draped in rhythm from drums and guitar strings to illustrate that it comes from a place of admiration. It’s hard to picture ourselves in different energies when we’re so familiar with radiating the same energy; and in this case the energy of familiarity is independence. Baez breaks away from her own reverie to drop the third verse. This verse is my favorite because it establishes that she doesn’t accept the bare minimum in love – meaning whoever’s got her heart on lockdown is not just any “playboy”. Throughout the duration of the song, our artist has a lingering worry about being played by her new love. Even vocalizing her wish to not be strung along in the bridge. It’s a universal worry when you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to let someone love you. Too many people get caught up in the idea of what it means to be independent - that being emotionally vulnerable somehow negates their own independence. But Baez blows this sentiment right out the water with “Player’s Fool (Who Am I?)”, demonstrating that a womxn can possess both without having to sacrifice either.

Native New Yorker, Elle Baez, is a singer-songwriter and inspiration to those underrepresented within the music industry. Baez’s affinity for creating singles centering on themes of self-empowerment and love with rich melodies and well-crafted stories have captivated listening audiences. The artist came on the scene back in 2019 with her funk-pop debut single “Your Lips”, with her debut EP Bold Soul coming shortly after in 2021 which features elements of R&B, jazz, soul, and Latin-pop. Showcasing early on her diversity in musical production, wide vocal range, and prolific songwriting. Baez’s songwriting has even been recognized by The Recording Academy for co-writing Scarlet Parke’s “369”. For fans either bound or traveling to Massachusetts this fall, there’s an opportunity to see Baez perform live! She’ll be apart of The E-Stage lineup where artists perform over the span of 17 days. Baez’s performance starts at 8:30PM on September 29th, ticketing information for day and 17-day passes can be found here. If you’ve enjoyed Elle Baez’s retro single as much as I have, show the artist some virtual love in the form of streams, likes, and follows.

Written by Giavanna Gradaille


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