Sky Ferreira has appeared to be on the verge of breakout success since she was 15. Now 20, she’s defying the industry’s usual panicky logic and developing patiently into a nuanced, understated avatar for the new commercial avant-garde, at least to extrapolate wildly on the basis of her latest track. Produced by Usher’s “Climax” co-songwriter Ariel Rechtshaid and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes (per Pitchfork), “Everything Is Embarrassing” drops a sharply crafted piano-pop torch song into a moody frame that, as Ferreira sings, tries “everything and nothing.” The muted sultriness of Sade. The cheese-embracing light synth-funk of chillwave. And the down-pitched goblin vocals of the Knife, Purity Ring, or chopped ‘n’ screwed music.
“Not my new sound (whatever that means),” Ferreira has said of the track, set for her upcoming Ghost EP, due out on October 2 and also reportedly featuring contributions by Jon Brion. But consider “Everything Is Embarrassing” alongside her Elite Gymnastics-remixed, creepy-video-boasting “Red Lips,” her work with Garbage’s Shirley Manson, and the bubblegum-snapping fluxpop of past songs like “One” or “99 Tears” (one of SPIN’s favorite pop tracks of 2011). Couldn’t it be part of a sound that endears her to an as yet untapped niche? “You could’ve been my anything,” Ferreira laments here. Let’s not talk about the past.