Jenevieve’s Division is one of the year’s breeziest R&B albums, full of strutting bass lines and sly, affecting hooks. While many modern releases are cobbled together with help from multiple producers, resulting in a grab-bag of styles and sounds, Jenevieve worked closely with the producer Benziboy on each Division cut. This helps the album maintain continuity even when it swerves from the title track — which has shades of Hall and Oates’ “Maneater” — to the brittle break-up boogie of “Exit Wounds.”
“Midnight Charm” is an early standout — a searingly bright track with some of the bouncy irresistibility of Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up,” one of the biggest R&B hits in recent memory. This song is built around an arpeggiated synth slamming down on the beat, a melodic backbone favored by Purple Rain-era Prince as well as The-Dream. Bass squirts across this gleaming foundation, and a steady trickle of hi-hats tap-tap a path forward; the beat is devastatingly simple and almost overwhelmingly cheerful.
Jenevieve matches this ecstatic mood with infatuated lyrics, as if no one she knows has ever experienced heartbreak before. Listeners will surely enjoy the couplet “Took you out of the streets/Kept you in between the sheets,” which seems to invert the dynamic of old Ludacris hits. “Midnight Charm” is also wonderfully impatient, as Jenevieve quickly gets tired of waiting around. “I’ma make my move,” she promises, “And prove to you that you’re my everything.”
Division came out Friday; it also includes Jenevieve’s breakout streaming hit, the funky throwback “Baby Powder,” which sounds like a Faith Evans outtake from 1995.