Love Hallucination finds Canadian producer Jessy Lanza at the top of her game, expertly infusing slick dance anthems with her own uniquely introspective lyricism. From endorphin-loaded house beats in ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’, UKG on ‘Midnight Ontario’ and razor-sharp ’80s samples sprinkled throughout, the record manages to sound both party-ready and stuck in its own head.
There’s ‘Don’t Cry On My Pillow’, a ruthless brush-off to a clingy lover, and ‘I Hate Myself’, which abandons pop’s usual glittering self-confidence for unvarnished self-loathing, even sampling a cough for emphasis. On ‘Marathon’ Lanza warns prospective suitors she’ll climax in her own time, refusing to march to anyone’s rhythm but her own – perhaps Love Hallucination’s main takeaway.
Vocally, Lanza has been likened to Aaliyah, her sugary register hinting at darker emotions lurking beneath – but as a producer she’s equally heir to Timbaland, evidenced by ‘Casino Niagara’, in which ethereal vocals intertwine with off-kilter, futuristic beats. But if her voice is spectral, the songs are all flesh and blood, focusing on topics from agoraphobia to sexual fulfilment. Love Hallucination marks a watershed moment for Lanza, proof of the magic that’s possible when you filter out external noise and let your instincts steer the ship.