Tei Shi returns in full bloom in both style and lushness on her new single, “Even If It Hurts,” featuring Blood Orange. Playing with the dichotomy of pain and comfort in the act of intimacy, she lays out her heart for her partner, accepting the possibility of hurting while in love. Instrumentally, she builds new, plush environments for this love to grow. Set with groovy serenity, the instrumentals are heavy in keyboards and laced with synth. The duet is soft in nature, as seen in the twinkling bells and the flowing sense of lyricism.
Tei Shi and Blood Orange serenade their listeners with winding notes, beginning with bells that seem to glimmer into a vast blooming of sound. It seems as though they’ve created a tunnel in which their music echoes through, transporting the listener into a serene world.
Blood Orange runs through the introduction of the song, whispering up a world of sensitivity to both himself and his lover. Knowing the sacrifice of artifice for the enveloping of love, he sings “Everything I laid out at your feet/Break it down for me/2AM I’m waiting for a leap of faith from you to me/Sweat drips from my apathy.” The cadence of his lyrics appear extremely structured and upstanding, but his voice and the interpretation of his words imply a natural softness to the matter, resembling the loose structure of the act of falling in love.
Tei Shi pulls the listener deeper into her world with the chorus: “Even if it hurts, baby/Say you wanna come/Say you wanna stay/Say you wanna leave, lately/Tell me what you need, baby/I don’t wanna feel crazy/Even if it hurts.” The short duration of her musical statements immerses her listeners into her mind with a rosy lens of love. She calls for her lover’s honesty and openness, parallel with her own vulnerability. The title and chorus motif “even if it hurts” is an acceptance of the vulnerability of love and intimacy, breaking down the boundaries for the inevitability of pain in love.
Blood Orange follows the chorus with: “I just don’t mind (ooh).” With the repetition of this saying, as though he were to reiterate the sacrifice of self in the act of affection. To become closer, people must trust each other to build a landscape of growth and sensitivity.
Suddenly Tei Shi lures the music into the outro, bringing in a stark quietness, and slowing down with an intricate instrumentation of bells. She and Blood Orange guide their listeners through a figurative tunnel of stars with its bells and synth. Meanwhile, they sing “Even if it hurts (I just don’t mind)” as though it were a mantra, building up the strength to accept the painful factors of love. They seem to mold into the intermingling instruments, wrapping themselves around the lightness of tenderness.
Floating in light bells and R&B-influenced vocals, the sweetness of this single accentuates Tei Shi and Blood Orange’s vocals, while the production strikes the right balance between groove and ambience. Building on the lightness and heaviness of love, they play with allusions of pain with the lighthearted nature of the beat. As though the listener is running through tunnels built by their music, they are engulfed by the ambrosia of love and intimacy. As though they call for the dance of love, Tei Shi and Blood Orange successfully undo the locks on the heart through their melody.
Review By: Liz Leung