In her new collaboration with 20 Fingers titled “You Make Me Say,” pop singer Cecy Santana flirts with eroticized beats and steamy harmonies, but it’s her own vocal delivery that tends to garner the most interest from listeners. There’s a flawlessness to the delicate tones she weaves together with the synths in this track that makes her melodic output feel almost ethereal, and while there’s been a lot of surreal sonic content making its way onto the charts this summer, I can’t say that I’ve heard anything as clubby as “You Make Me Say” dabbling in cerebral songcraft as well. It’s a transcendent performance and one that would suggest greater flexibility in Santana’s sound than one might have assumed just by looking at the other material in her discography alone.
This is a lusty beat, but without the addition of our singer’s melodic vocal, I don’t think it would have the sensuous vibe it does in this arrangement. 20 Fingers doesn’t cut into Santana’s center stage placement at all but instead adds something to the lyrics that complements his host’s style more than it highlights his own abilities. It’s a selfless guest spot and not something I’ve been seeing a lot of this season, and considering who he’s sharing the studio with, I’m not surprised that his role is more minimalistic than it would typically be. Even when she’s next to “Mr. Personality” himself, Cecy Santana is a tough act to keep up with.
The well-rounded mixing of “You Make Me Say” doesn’t give the spotlight over to the vocal parts over the instruments specifically but instead lets this jam play out as it would in a raw, live setting. It’s more abrasive than the mainstream would normally allow, but this comprises a great deal of the song’s charm; where others limit their punch, this is a track carried by the effectiveness of its physicality. When you’ve got the talents to go unfiltered, I’ve always been a critic to endorse running with an organic sound, and Cecy Santana is just the sort of artist who can do this without sounding even slightly amateurish or out of her league. It’s a natural-born gift, and she’s putting it to work for her marvelously in this single.
I wasn’t listening to this player before “You Make Me Say,” but there’s too much credibility in what she brings to the table here for me to keep her off of my radar in the future. Pop is cutthroat and caustic in 2021, but the chops Cecy Santana possesses could elevate her profile from the shadows of the underground to the bright lights of the mainstream easily in a track like this one. 20 Fingers delivers a killer collaboration on his end, but when everything is said and done, I have a strong feeling that Santana is going to be the name we’re talking about more by the end of the summer, and she doesn’t give me any reason to think otherwise in “You Make Me Say.”