Song You Need: Saya Gray’s “WISH U PICKED ME...” is an experimental folk implosion

Song You Need: Saya Gray’s “WISH U PICKED ME…” is an experimental folk implosion

Saya Gray describes “WISH U PICKED ME…” as “an inner dialogue” with five of the Canadian-Japanese artist’s personalities convening for the purposes of the creation. Where most artists have enough trouble steering a single vision without clashing sonics, Gray weaves genres into her visions as naturally as rivers that flow into one pure, uncompromised lake. That’s clear throughout her engaging new EP 19 MASTERSbut “PICKED ME” is a particularly notable case study of this success.

The song opens with a rush of paisley-coated, finger-picked guitar and Mike Dean-esque synth sunbursts before Gray begins her statement of purpose: “If I could’ve said one thing / It would be, it would be, it would be…” Her feathery, soulful voice is layered with each repetition, building anticipation for her eventual release: a demand for self-respect. It’s looser poetry than you’ll hear on Moses Sumney’s 2020 album graya project that sought to bring folk into the future in similar ways, but no less intimate and immediate.

“WISH YOU PICKED ME…” is a song written for an audience of one – Gray herself – effectively disguised as a heart-to-heart with the listener. No matter which personality Gray gives the wheel to in her art, there’s always a reason to engage with what it produces.