This album’s title track (which Perez co-wrote with Paul Sanchez) was high on my personal playlist toward the end of the year, thanks to its generous and hopeful sentiments. It’s still going strong a few weeks later, but for a simpler reason: The song’s also got one of the catchiest chorus hooks to come along in a while, and the way Perez wraps her voice around it drives the positivity home.
She pulls that trick a few times on this album: “He’s Just Not That Into You”—like the title track, a lyric addressed to a friend who’s having a hard time—calls out a few exes for their no-good ways, but it’s the high-stepping funk groove giving the assurance that she didn’t need those guys anyway. “Dinner” gets into trickier emotional territory: It’s sung to an ex, and the singer isn’t completely sure what she’s hoping to reunite for—but it again features a sparkling pop chorus that makes the invitation tough to resist. Wrapping up the friendship theme, “Girlfriends” (one of two songs here written by Amy Trail) erupts into a gospel-ish chorus of “Ain’t gonna be shut down.” The sisterhood doesn’t just sound powerful, it sounds like the best party in town.
Perez clearly enjoys an eyebrow-raising lyric; other songs here salute the life-enhancing qualities of sex and reefer. But the album also bears out her eclectic musical nature, putting pop hooks into her funk and brass-band strut (and a bunch of funny rhymes) into her ganga anthem “Reefer Gladness.” She slides into a more elegant, acoustic groove on “Song to the River,” and the two Spanish-sung salsa tracks are full of the infectious life-force that the whole album celebrates.