Being catcalled isn’t the most pleasant experience, but it sure as hell inspires some great music. Sylvan Esso singer Amelia Meath has felt the unwarranted prick of an earsplitting male jeer far too many times. She explained the overt meaning behind “Hey Mami” in an interview with Vice’s Noisey, saying, “It’s about being a lady person and dealing with being catcalled…(Being catcalled) is super explicit and can be really long and not cool.”

Ironically enough, “Hey Mami” counteracts the aggravated topic at hand with a playfully aloof flow. The opening half establishes easy-going acknowledgement of the female’s unfortunate designation as eye candy using nothing more than layered vocal recordings and slow clapping. As the midway point approaches and producer Nick Sanborn throws electronic hat in the ring, fierce beats come in low and mindfully staggered to promote confident recognition of the girl’s strength and dominance rather than showing showing her expectedly conceding to frustration and outward anger. Sylvan Esso builds an interesting base of authority around the protagonist as they describe, “Our hero she don’t know the gravity she holds as she pulls on the eyeballs of all the kids standing tall.” That hero unknowingly yet magnetically pulls eyes inward while radiating power outward as she subsequently tails out while advertising the repeated assertion of her commanding sovereignty, saying over and over again “I know what you want.”

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