In the “It Means I Love You” video, Jessy Lanza walks through a greenhouse surrounded by plants, manifestations of her anxiety over getting sick. “I became obsessed with surrounding myself with tropical plants. I’ve been convinced that the air quality in our house is slowly killing us,” she justified in a press release. “It might sound crazy but the plants have made a huge difference.” That preoccupation with her own mortality inhabits Oh No, the Canadian musician’s second album, which she once again worked on alongside Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan. It’s a more direct record than its predecessor, the terse but unassuming Pull My Hair Back. It’s confrontational in a way that reflects anxiety disorders — clenched fists, hunched shoulders, darting glances, the small heart flutters that grow into crippling panic attacks.
Lanza’s voice is more front-and-center on this record — a direct result of her taking more inspiration from pop and R&B than the muted electronic experimentation she dabbled in before — but it often feels as though Lanza is more opaque than ever. The forwardness of the two early singles — “It Means I Love You” and “VV Violence” — are feints for the more uneasy tracks contained within; whether she’s going in for whispery balladry on “I Talk BB” or insisting that she “just wants to impress you” on “Going Somewhere,” Lanza presents a persona that is conflicted and constantly second-guessing. The plants that now occupy Lanza’s home are just one of the many side effects of the constant worry that comes with struggling through life; Oh No contains the rest. Listen below.
Oh No is out 5/13 via Hyperdub.