Jenevieve’s “Baby Powder” Is Bittersweet

There aren’t many songs that make me want to melt into the floor. But “Baby Powder” by 22-year-old chanteuse Jenevieve makes me want to believe I could dive into the puddle of sunlight shimmering in my living room. The delayed countdown akin to Pharrell revs us up for some earnest, pearly keyboard plucks and a teasing bass line. Her vocals are spritely, whirling in front of a mellow ’70s soul-influenced background. Only the second song released by the Miami-raised musician, “Baby Powder,” following February’s ’90s R&B-tinged “Medallion,” is misleading with its seductive, baby-making production.

Even though the work of producer Jean Benz is as doting and sultry as Hollywood’s interpretation of rubbing sun lotion on someone’s back, Jenevieve’s lyrics aren’t so gentle. She’s caught between her heart’s affection and some sleazy bullshit. “Don’t need to sit down and talk. I already know what you are” she sighs. Her vocals bouncily speed up as she provides the evidence: “Plastic on the floor and it ain’t from me.” The tightness in her voice suggests her irritation at being burned by heartbreak. Her voice is misleadingly sanguine as she leaves her ex-lover with a poisonous sting. “You’re keeping me so dry / You’re everything I’d never want.” As a result, Jenevieve has made an empowering reminder out of a lousy love affair.

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