Here’s the thing about RAYE: she just does not miss.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: from her myriad dance floor collaborations over the past few years, like “Secrets” with DJ Regard, “You Don’t Know Me” and “Tequila” with Jax Jones and “Stay (Don’t Go Away)” with David Guetta, to solo cuts like “Friends” and “Please Don’t Touch,” RAYE remains incapable of penning a dud. Ever.
And lo and behold: her latest single released on Friday (July 10), “Natalie Don’t,” is no exception to the RAYE rule.
The track, written with John Hill and John Blanda, is essentially a moody, danceable 2020 take on Dolly Parton‘s classic “Jolene,” equipped with the hook-heavy quality guaranteed to come from the pristine pop penmanship of the 22-year-old British singer-songwriter.
“Oh no, there she goes to take away my man / I’m begging her, not him / Don’t, don’t, don’t do it, no, no / Don’t do it, Natalie don’t, don’t…” RAYE achingly pleads above the beat, pairing string dramatics with a solid strut for the dance floor.
There’s even a direct shout-out to her inspiration in the desperate bridge: “Don’t text back, leave my man / Like Dolly begged Jolene / Just ’cause you can, don’t take him please…”
“I knew immediately when I wrote this song that it had to be a single. The track is about that feeling of panic you have when you know you’re losing someone. The song is beautifully hopeless because you know Natalie will do what she wants regardless,” she says of the song, which she also described as possibly her favorite RAYE song, which is going to appear on a seven-track project released later this summer.
“I’ve been working on a project that explains the seven stages of grief. The first song is a really dramatic, confused power ballad, and then we progress through to the last song when you finally say with your full heart that you’ve healed. I’m very proud of this work and I can’t wait for everyone to hear all the tracks.”
To illustrate the grief caused by Natalie’s unavoidable allure, RAYE appears in a music video directed by Fiona Jane Burgess, in which she demonstrates what the broken hearted should do (or don’t do) to get over a relationship – not unlike Miss Dua Lipa‘s “New Rules.” (The most important advice of all? “Don’t overdo TikTok.”)
The song is just about as hypnotic as Natalie’s stare – an instant smash. Who could possibly resist? And that’s what makes me a card-carrying Little RAYE of Sunshine. (RAYEnbow? RAYEdiator?) Unclear on the stan terminology, still – but I’m all in RAYEgardless.
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