“We like laughing at purpose …” It’s a wonderful verse from Anna Wise’s single “Balance In All”, a song with a new video, from off her latest LP The Feminine: Act II, where she is in full command. Hard to imagine a time where she isn’t. The slick micro-beats open up like something out of the Bjork playbook, circa maybe “Army of Me” or “Hunter”, but it’s Wise’s sultry, jazzy vocal melodies that wrap the bow around the other elements. I’ve taken to calling the fluctuation of vocal scales the good singers can create as “the butterfly flutter”. That thing that makes you close your eyes, tilt your head to the sky in contemplation of where a sound like that originated. What makes her so different than other soulful songstresses is the sheer elegance of her phrasing, more Billie and Badu than Bey. It’s pure. It’s emotive — and the genuineness of the manner behind the sound comes through with the lucidity of crystal. Just listen to how she sings the line “Run beside wild things throw away your gold.” It’s exquisite. I could put that single verse on loop for days. There’s more here than a mere “dance tune”. It’s the desire for cognitive connection. And where many artists falter with lyrics, “Balance In All” is really about a Walt Whitman sort of spirituality: “The mountainside is where the truth unfolds.” A spirituality that drops all rigid notions of religion and lifts up the earth, the soil, sex, sunlight, skin, interconnection with people and ultimately love as things worth the reveling and worship. This song is an appreciation of carpe diem — and it just makes you want to touch things and immerse yourself in a kind of synesthesia — caress a smooth steel railing as you walk to work, silk bed-sheets, hover over steam rising off a cup of hot-chocolate, listen to the rustle of water, luxuriate in life. And I can only be immensely grateful for the way her song alters mind and mood. You can follow Anna on facebook and twitter. Order Anna’s record at her official website here. — David D. Robbins Jr.