Mia Wray appeared on Australian music fans’ radar approximately six months into everybody’s worst nightmare in music ever, aka the coronavirus pandemic.
Her first single, “Work For Me”, which dropped in September 2020, got people talking almost right away. No wonder, this soulful anthem, kept mostly in the ‘a cappella’ style, showcases her superb vocal skills. It was followed by “Never Gonna Be The Same” in January 2021. And this time, the singer hit hard with her attitude and bold lyrics.
What we didn’t know, however, was that a real bombshell was yet to come. And it finally landed last week in the form of the third single, “Needs”.
PART 74 OF “AM I EVER GONNA SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN?” A RANDOM COLLECTION OF UNKNOWINGLY OBVIOUS FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC SCENE
In an era when focus on complicated instrumental arrangements often outshines the vocals (no offence to anyone), releasing tracks that emphasise the singer-songwriting aspect are a brave move to enter the music biz. And it’ll probably sound a bit overzealous, but (knowing what the previous songs were like) when I heard “Needs” for the first time, I was like, “Guuuuuuuurl”. That piano hook is so hypnotising! But then enter the lyrics… and I can’t find words to describe them (pun intended).
So let’s focus on those lyrics, for a change.
Some will probably call them audacious. Others, me included, will hail them “every woman’s anthem”. Because Mia is not holding back in telling things as they are. Somehow, though, she does it in a super playful and witty way. I’m betting $100, you’ll end up having the song on repeat after the first listen.
The storyline is pretty simple. Someone (your partner?) is acting a li’l selfish in (the intimate part of) your relationship. They tell you that they “know how you want it” which is, most likely, not exactly the truth. They probably haven’t even asked you – they’ve just assumed it, based on their previous experiences. And they’re not really keen on talking about it with you, either.
But you’re “a woman”, and a grown one, too. So you do wanna talk about it. And because you care about them and want them “to stay here”, you choose to be honest. You tell them straight up to “take it down” because you “got needs, too”. End of story.
A universal problem told through a fun wordplay in a naughty, melodic composition. Yeah, it’s not the first time it’s happened in history. But trust me – it’s 3 mins 21 secs of your valuable time well spent. And it’s not only my opinion.
Since the single was shared with the world a week ago (and as of 8 June 2021), it has already garnered nearly 45,000 streams on Spotify and over 22,000 views on YouTube. That’s only two major platforms. I reckon it’s gonna hit a few prominent playlists and radio stations sooner or later. Because what people want the most these days is to be intelligently entertained.
Mia Wray did just that. And it’s funny that she actually managed to pull it off in a fairly limited number of words. Because “Needs” is not an elaborate rant – it’s a “can we please finally get to the point?” sort of plea. The song’s title is a good summary of the textual content already. And the rest of the lyrics are based on very economical but brilliantly candid language. I’d say it’s the “less is more” concept executed with mastery.
There’s something else to the lyrics. Apart from being good with words, Mia has casually dropped a pop culture reference without sounding pushy or desperate. I bet that chorus will be stuck in your head for days. And I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’m sensing here a little nod towards Billie Eilish – another non-conforming female artist.
Now, “Needs” is a banger in the sonic level, too. The melody is super catchy, and it instantly makes you wanna sing along. So I don’t want anyone to think that I’m deliberately downplaying the muso’s songwriting skills. But in my humble opinion, it’s the simplicity and directness of the lyrics that make this song especially worth your while. And it’s not because I’m a feisty feminist. It’s because you don’t come across smart, savvy and sexy lyrics all that often any more.
Of course, there’ll be haters focusing on the erotic nature of the song and how “there are so many more pressing issues to discuss in music”. Screw them! How many times do women get to talk about their intimate needs as a subject rather than an object in such an accessible way?
If it’s okay for guys to talk about it (yep, I’m pointing my finger at many of you, male rappers, right now), then it should also be normal for the female part of the population. It’s kinda time to stop pretending that, because women are mothers and daughters, they – sorry, we! – don’t have simple human desires and urges. Thank God, some badass artists have finally found the balls to make this topic a little less taboo. It’s the 21st century, after all!
On triple J Unearthed (the platform for unsigned artists in Australia), the info you’ll get about Mia Wray is this (I kept the original form): “hi my name is mia and I write songs to remind u that u a bad B“. As far as artist bios go, it’s one of the best ones I’ve seen around.
With this cheeky attitude, I’m pretty sure the 24-year-old Melbourne-based muso, who – I’d like to stress it again – broke through in the pandemic, will start making even bigger waves Down Under sooner than we all think. And we definitely need more “Bad Bs” like Mia in the music biz, please.
Besides, won’t it just be awesome to chant and/or yell, “Honey, I got needs, too” with your girlfriends at Mia’s gig?! And that, without the fear of being accused of “having a go” at someone in particular? So thanks heaps for the tune, Mia. For reals! It pleases my needs, too.
Listen to the single here:
Disclaimer: I’m not sure the lyrics have been officially published anywhere yet. So here’s my version. If it’s not accurate, feel free to correct me.
MIA WRAY 'NEEDS' First verse: Forget it, I know how you want it A huh I'm not her Don't wanna talk about it I see it when you lie when you come back run back Wondering why I didn't call back Look me in the eye, I know you Don't wanna talk about it Because I love you babe and I want you to stay here It's a two-way road But it feels like we ride in a one way, one way Chorus: Ooo honey, take it down I wanna wear the crown You should see me now Ooo honey I got needs too Need you to please please please Please my needs, too Second verse: Address it, I know how I want it Ah huh I'm a woman I wanna talk about it I see it when you lie when you come back run back Wondering why I didn't call back Look me in the eye, I know you I wanna talk about it Because I love you babe and I want you to stay here It's a two-way road But it feels like we ride in a one way, one way Chorus: Ooo honey, take it down I wanna wear the crown You should see me now Ooo honey I got needs too Need you to please please please Please my needs, too Bridge: Oh I got needs too x 5 Ooo honey I got needs too Need you to please me, please me Need you to please me, please me Please me too Chorus: Honey, take it downtown I wanna wear the crown You should see me now Ooo honey I got needs too Need you to please please please Please my needs, too Oh honey, honey
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