Brooklyn-based jazz and R&B artist, Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, delivers a lyrical-driven, intimate track worth remembering with her newest single, “Better For You.” Critiquing society’s (and men’s) sexualization of women, Gonzalez consistently asks “Is it better for you if…” centralizing on the idea that women are sexual objects made to pleasure others. But digging much further than that are the individual lines and ideas that bring yet another meaning to it—like “is it better for you if I don’t feel a thing,” “if you let me drop,” “if we also fight,” “if it’s all in spite,” “if I don’t talk at all” etc.—echoing other patterns found within the relationship and/or society’s wishes to keep women down in almost every way.
Backing the strong, poetic writing and gorgeously-thought-out nuances is a just-as-gorgeous instrumental. Beginning with some bright, slow-moving piano chords, it quickly develops into a steady-rocking jazz-club classic. The casual, walking bass and brisk, repetitive piano chords practically dim the lights for you, as her voice pushes its way through the tiny venue. Much like well-known contemporary jazz singers like Amy Winehouse, the focus certainly isn’t on the instrumentation, but it does a much-more-than-serviceable job creating an intimate environment that’s also casual enough for this pseudo-slam poetry.
Gonzalez’s “Better For You” pulls no punches in its criticism of society and masculinity. Breaking apart the inherent oppression women often face into each little detail, the track provides a well-developed look at the issue and how it all interacts with sexuality specifically. And the calming, relaxed backing makes it incredibly enjoyable to listen to. The lyrical performance isn’t legendary or mind-blowing, but Gonzalez pushes her emotions out in a digestible and beautiful way. “Better For You” is nothing less than a great jazz track that will make you both angry at the world, and tranquil in your home.
Follow me on my socials for more—linked at the bottom of every page on my blog! Also, if you like this, Gonzalez is releasing an album (that this track is featured on) entitled, IF THEY’RE MINE, coming later this spring.