Earlier this year in an interview with Rolling Stone India, Gothenberg-raised Indo-Swedish musician Nadia Nair admitted that she was tired after a long year of touring. “Right now I just want to be [an] introvert in the studio for a bit,” she admits. So it’s only fitting that the R&B tinged “See Things,” Nair’s follow-up single to her haunting “Sway,” recaptures that introverted energy that Nair is so well known for.
At once sleek, dark, and unflinchingly perceptive, “See Things” is a low-key breakup anthem that hints at–instead of directly calling out–the end of a broken relationship. “I cannot replace ya / Staring at me like I don’t know ya / You’re way too gone anyway / Throwin shade,” Nair sings amidst tightly bundled R&B beats. Surprisingly, even though Nair’s lyrics points out the drama between her and an unfaithful lover, there’s no call to action besides minor threats (“I need to fade ya”). “See Things” is therefore largely a self-reflection of the events going on in Nair’s head–a vocalized validation of the things that are happening around her. Despite its chill vibe, hints of a seething anger are apparent through Nair’s gorgeously layered vocals, signifying her growing distrust that eventually bubbles over to a tipping point.
Joining Nair on the track is also Swedish emcee Mwuana, a wonderfully paired vocal foil to Nair’s melancholic singing style. Mwuana’s rap verse takes the song and breaks it out of Nair’s head, offering a counter-perspective to the quickly deteriorating situation. Over liberating, muted R&B explosions, Mwuana and Nair make an impeccable duo, taking the song and elevating it to new heights. When the chorus finally returns with both singers in tow, the result is cathartic.
“See Things” is perhaps one of Nair’s most successful venture into pop airplay yet–in Sweden and everywhere else.
Photos by Natalie Lennartsson.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.