2019 was a huge year for Gino McKoy, and the leadoff single from his debut record was no doubt the biggest reason why. “Sensy Girl (feat. Diamond),” one of the three songs on his first EP Lumina, caught the attention of both listeners and critics almost the day that it hit record stores, and if you’ve listened to its heavenly hook, you’ve got a pretty good idea as to why. There are a lot of artists trying to make the sort of transcendent pop music McKoy and Diamond are in this track, but very few are able to merge the melodic worlds of two separate genres as well as this duo have here.
Like the other songs on Lumina, there are quite a few layers of sonic decadence for us to dig into in “Sensy Girl,” and it all starts with the gorgeously toned bassline straddling every beat in the track. While I don’t know that it needed to be as muted as it is in the mix, there’s a subtly postmodern flavor to the bass parts in this single that really put it over the top in the texture department (which is something I’ve been craving more out of the independent pop scene lately).
There’s a ton of contrast on the harmonies in this single, and I get the vibe that this was a deliberately-fashioned element for Gino McKoy in the recording process. I really like the way that there isn’t any symmetry between the vocal attack McKoy is using and the raging rap that Diamond injects the song with close to midway through; it’s chaotic and unexpected, forcing us to the edge of our seats but stopping short of throwing a wrench into the gears of something otherwise comfortably unfamiliar. Smart producing went into this track, but to be fair, some smart composing did, too.
It would be really intriguing to hear how Gino McKoy would play this on his own in a live setting, mostly just because of how vocal-driven the song is in this capacity. I suppose that he could break it down for an acoustic performance as easily as he could have its more indulgent points stretched out behind the turntables to create what would possibly be a modern day nightclub classic, and in either case, I would be very interested in hearing the results for myself. McKoy is a versatile player, and that sometimes makes his studio stuff feel like an advertisement for his live show.
Well on his way to superstardom (and bringing along a rapper in Diamond that everyone among the underground ranks should be talking about right now), Gino McKoy hits a grand slam with the release of his new single “Sensy Girl,” and personally, my gut tells me that it’s only showing us a glimpse into his future splendor as both a songwriter and as a tremendously gifted singer. Melody comes before everything else for this guy, and if his attitude stays as rare as it is at the moment, he’s going to have an easy path to the top from here on out.