Twenty seconds into Yasmin’s single “Finish Line,” the last of Popjustice's shortlist for the 2011 20 Quid Prize, I got a one-two punch of aural amazement. The singer, a gorgeous young woman of mixed Persian descent with a disarmingly smooth voice, sings what will become the refrain of a dirge for love grown cold over the basest of synth backing. Then she reaches the devastating line “I think this is the end of us,” and on “end” the chord changes to a dark minor that indicates something more bluesy and R&B than the initial chord changes had suggested. As she finishes the line, a deep voice speaks the song’s title, which repeats at the front and the end of each refrain and areas within and serves as a frame and in a way a part of the beat, like “Barbra Streisand” did on Duck Sauce’s 2010 track of the same name. The beat that follows, like the song on top of it, is smooth and sensual, cool and confident, edgy but not unfamiliar, and the 22 year old pulls it off beautifully.
Yasmin is a new acquisition of the Ministry of Sound label, which also manages Alex Gaudino, Afrojack (whose single “Give Me Everything” with Pitbull and Ne-Yo hit number one in both the US and UK last month), and I’ll be interested to see what she produces after this. For now, this is the song I keep taking writing breaks to go listen to like it was a drug or new boyfriend, so there you go.