Jessy Lanza: “Don’t Leave Me Now”

Jessy Lanza coats her neurotic, tightly-wound dance jams in a crisp candy shell. On 2020’s All the Time, the Canadian-born musician turned a song about pill dependency into a sensual R&B slow jam; she made a rage spiral sound as euphoric as falling in love. The lollipop exterior of her music often obscures the real, unsettling darkness at its core, much of which regards the terror of losing control over your own life. 

On her new standalone single “Don’t Leave Me Now,” Lanza once again finds fertile creative ground at the intersection of lyrical anxiety and buoyant production. Over a turbulent juke beat, Lanza reacts to an incident in which she was nearly hit by a car in L.A., triggering agoraphobic panic. “Don’t leave me,” she repeats in a breathy, helium-voiced coo—the oblique lyrics seemingly drawn from a love song but in context pointing to totalizing fear. In a contrast to the dissociated ambiance of prior tracks like “You Never Show Your Love” or “VV Violence”, which still feel vaporous even at their most banging, “Don’t Leave Me Now” is embodied, insistent, and forceful. It pushes Lanza into the zone of big-tent favorites and pulls off the feat of making a near-death experience sound rapturous.