In a just world, Katy B's 2011 debut – a tightly paced sequence of ecstatic pop hooks and state-of-the-art club wobbles – would have made the London singer a first-rank star in the States. It didn't come close, but that's no reason to ignore her equally lovable follow-up. Little Red showcases her vivid R&B songwriting over chic, chilly electro beats, from the aching "Jolene" reboot "Aaliyah" (co-starring fellow U.K. sensation Jessie Ware) to the tense smolder of "I Like You" to the head-over-heels endorphin rush of "Tumbling Down." Even "Crying for No Reason," Katy's bid for torch-ballad glory, feels like a genuinely vulnerable moment. She's still the sharpest storyteller on the dance floor.
From The Archives Issue 1202: February 13, 2014