On “Drama,” Erika de Casier whispers her regrets. This is par for the course for the Portuguese-born, Copenhagen-based singer-songwriter. Since she first appeared with 2019’s Essentials, de Casier has made hushed music about big feelings. A former member of the duo Saint Cava, she’s loosely affiliated with Aarhus’ Regelbau collective, but where that crew specializes in ’90s-flavored house, de Casier takes her inspiration from millennial R&B acts like Brandy and SWV. On “Drama,” she takes a cue from Craig David, who perfected the fusion of shuffling breakbeats and rippling guitar melodies. De Casier and co-producer Natal Zaks (aka Regelbau’s DJ Central) start with a clean-toned guitar riff and powder-dry woodblock, then deck out the stereo field—adding splash cymbal, triangle, syn-flute—until it shimmers like Christmas tinsel. It’s an unabashedly elegant sound that highlights the comparative fragility of de Casier’s own voice, which rarely rises louder than a sigh.
The story de Casier tells starts out with self-recrimination—“I wrote you twice last night/Wish that I could rewind/Take back whatever I said”—and at first, it sounds like an apology for her hot-headedness. But things take a steamy turn in the second verse. “You want drama?” she asks. “I’ll give you a reality show/Night mode camera/Show you more and more.” What makes the song work so well is her lightness of touch—on the production, with her voice, and in the lyrics. (Like many of her videos, “Drama,” with its bubble bath, feather duster, and roaring wood stove, deftly rides the line between sincerity and parody.) In the pre-chorus, she apologizes for being dramatic. “Everybody says I’m so reasonable,” she sighs. “But when I’m down that road/It’s sensational.” The lyric is vague, but the sensual promise in the way she says “sensational” shines as clearly as the brightest elements in this sparkling song.