Dominique Fils-Aimé Uses Soul Music to Envision a Better Future on 'Three Little Words'
Published Feb 09, 2021If Dominique Fils-Aimé's third studio album, Three Little Words, had to be summed up into one little word, it would have to be "liberation." It's a project that bursts at the seams with style and intricacies, clearly garnering more than a single description. Whether breaking free of unfulfilling relationships or standing up to oppressive systems and structures, liberation is written all over Three Little Words, brazenly and unabashedly, through the sound of lush soul.
Three Little Words completes the Montreal-based singer's album trilogy exploring the roots and culture of African-American music, third in the line up behind her blues-oriented debut, Nameless (2018), and the '60s jazz-oriented follow-up, Stay Tuned! (2019). The final installment of the trilogy serves as a melting pot for the genres and sounds previously explored, but with soul taking centre stage.
The album is a time capsule, honouring Black history and music, while also offering a glimpse into the future, as Fils-Aimé sings of being the change in the world instead of waiting around for one on the swelling, steady build-up of "While We Wait." Lead single "Love Take Over" is an anthem of celebrating Black femininity and dismantling the patriarchy. Fils-Aimé's vocals are deep and smoky, reminiscent of a modern-day Nina Simone with traces of Billie Holiday, as she floats from song to song.
A blend of sounds and emotions, all distinct but able to meld together to create a cohesive body of work, come together on this album. There's the striking, layered percussion and harmonies of the titular track, to a minimalist cover of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" as a delightful closer. Amongst the mix, most of the songs on the record are short and quiet, simmering underneath their calm surfaces with life. Fils-Aimé has certainly achieved a feeling of conclusion with her album trilogy, as Three Little Words serves as its hushed yet powerful final bow. (Ensoul)