This image is from Little Simz's official website.

Throughout the duration of Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Little Simz taps into a universal experience. She looks in the mirror and sees her younger self staring back in admiration and awe of who she has become. She may be older and a bit wiser, but the pain and heartbreak she experienced still live inside. Her older self no longer wants to shrink or keep her pain to herself. She exposes her wounds and feelings through the album’s 19 tracks, creating intimacy between the listener and herself. 

The album reads like a memoir, with Simz finding the balance between universality and specificity to her life experience. The opening track, “Introvert,” begins with an orchestra that moves with urgency, opening the curtains onto Simz, alone on the stage. She speaks to the world of global problems and tangles them in with herself. She makes it known that in order to heal and begin to solve the problems of the world, we must face ourselves and heal our own wounds.

Cleo Sol, a frequent collaborator on the album, preaches about this entanglement of the personal and the collective: “Find a way, I’ll find a way / The world’s not over / I will make it, don’t you cry / In God we trust / ’Cause we’re not alone.” The move from “I” to “we” reflects Simz’s belief in that enmeshment.

The album continues to move in the vein of a confessional on tracks like “I Love You I Hate You,” where the line, “Never thought my parent would give me my first heartbreak” pours over the ears like a bucket of ice water. The track continues to face those emotions of heartbreak and grief for a broken relationship; Simz knows that, in the end, she has to forgive her parent, not for them, but for herself.

The theme of forgiveness continues on “Little, Q. Pt. 2,” where she recalls a near-death experience of being stabbed. Simz sympathizes with the person who did it, “But the boy that stabbed me is just as damaged as me / I could have been the reflection that he hated.” By opening herself up in this way and exposing this trauma, she allows the listener to not only feel connected to the music, but also to the artist herself.

One of the most impressive tracks on the album, “Rollin Stone,” starts off with a flow that Simz has carried throughout her career. However, in the second verse, the fast pace grime sound moves into a slower trap beat, where Simz’s flow and voice flip a switch. She dubs this her “evil twin,” as she finds new ways to use her voice.

Her “evil twin” makes reference to her 2016 album Stillness In Wonderland, at the lines “Picture perfect, nothing picture perfect here, I know / All illusion, why the world confusing? I don’t know.” The album was influenced by Alice in Wonderland, and the illusions faced every day. Stillness in Wonderland starts off joyful, but as it continues Simz deals with the realization that everything is not always as it seems. This nod to her past self and work proves that Simz values both where she has been and where she is headed.

The album holds themes of gratitude and respect for who and what has come before you. On “Woman,” Simz gives a shout-out to Black women around the world, from Africa to Barbados to Jamaica to India. Little Simz makes sure to let the women of the world know that they inspire her. On a later track, “Point and Kill,” Simz links with Obongjayar, a Nigerian artist, for a funky Afrobeat track. The title references a Nigerian phrase about picking out a fish at a market or store. The two use the common saying to show they both will go for what they want, point and kill style. 

Throughout the album, there are multiple references to Little Simz’s introverted nature and her celebration of that. “Protect My Energy” is the introvert anthem that has been missing for a long time. In juxtaposition to the lyrics about being alone often, the track comes off as a catchy pop track, proving that the desire to be alone often is joyous and something to be celebrated.

There is a recurring message throughout the duration that Simz doesn’t need you. She doesn’t need validation from fame or success and, at the same time, doesn’t need to surround herself with other people in order to feel fulfilled. This track proves Simz’s range as she has gracefully jumped from grime to Afrobeat to pop. Simz made this track for those who stay in their lonesome on the weekend and provides a track to play loudly and dance freely to.

Daily Arts Writer Katy Trame can be reached at ktrame@umich.edu.