Girl On A Mission: Introduucing…Katy B!

I’ve neglected writing about Katy B for a painfully long time. Not out of disinterest, but rather laziness: Whenever a new pop ingenue comes rolling around, I’ve either got to take the initiative and tackle the formal introductions head-on or–as it more often tends to be the case, I’ll end up riding the wave bubbling under until it becomes absolutely necessary.

It’s become absolutely necessary.

Katy B is part of a phenomenon in British female pop steadily increasing in popularity at the moment, characterized by sweetly sung R&B melodies, hip-hop rhymes, and rough, grinding garage/grime beats–let’s call it “swagga pop.”

Though she looks all of 12 years old, the rising South London-born pop chanteuse commands a sick flow and a pleasantly soulful croon, like a cross between Cher Lloyd and Jessie J or JoJo and Joss Stone.

Groomed by the good people of underground radio/record label Rinse.FM and recently signed to Columbia Records, Katy B has come a long way in a short period of time–and it’s clear that the British public’s already taken notice.

Her first single, “Katy On A Mission,” was released in late August. The track is a somewhat bipolar, grinding dubstep banger that–despite its somewhat less accessible radio sound–managed to climb to the impressive position of #5 the UK Singles Chart and #1 on the UK Dance Chart only two weeks after its release.

In fact, the song was such a success that its trance-y B-side, the glittering “Louder,” (which I imagine Lily Allen sounds like when played at a rave), peaked at #176 on the charts based on downloads alone.

“Lights On” is the second single to be released from Katy B’s upcoming debut album (due out next week), which also features Ms. Dynamite. (OH HAI–long time no see, lady!)

On her new track, the young singer ditches the dubstep sound of her debut in favor of UK garage/classic house revivalism a la Hercules & Love Affair. “I keep on moving with the lights on,” the young star sings above the song’s dull, throbbing beat whilst inexplicably parading around the “Rock Your Body”-esque video in–what else? A pair of pajamas.

If the late ’80’s/early ’90’s sound of “Lights On” rubbed you the right way, I highly recommend checking out Katy B’s take on the 1988 Inner City smash, “Good Life,” re-rubbed by Rinse.FM artist Geeneus. It’s, well…genius!

As with all noteworthy pop artists (especially of the ‘swagga pop’ variety), Katy B’s music constantly toes the line between brilliance and shit–a quality that will undoubtedly divide listeners and provide for some interesting pop discourse.

But whether you’re loving or hating the jams, there’s little doubt that Katy B is set to explode in 2011.

“Lights On” will be released on December 20. (iTunes)

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