Amaarae: “Reckless & Sweet”

Amaarae’s love songs drip with self-possession and swagger. The Ghanaian-American pop star was often smitten on her debut album, 2020’s head-spinning The Angel You Don’t Know, but she expressed her ardor with seeming invincibility, affirming her “zaddy” status through a mesmerizing blend of R&B, pop, and alté. On “Reckless and Sweet,” the lead single from her forthcoming album Fountain Baby, she provides a sinewy, softer update to her formula. Over light, strutting drums and gentle guitar melodies, she calls the ulterior motives of a materialistic paramour into question: “The thought of me spendin’, gives you goosebumps/Now lie to me, tell me I’m wrong,” she sings in a breathy coo. (It’s not the first time she’s had urges to “run run run” to the money, as she chirps on the song’s winding chorus.) Her imagery veers biblical to match the intense emotions at play; she evokes an “angel in light till she grew horns” before wondering in a cautious murmur, “Is this the life that I’m owed?” Keeping itself at a low dial throughout, “Reckless and Sweet” luxuriates in opulence while simultaneously revealing a darker, more vulnerable side to Amaarae’s usual bravado.