Songs We Love: denitia and sene., 'olive.' With an assist from producer Sly5thave, the R&B-adjacent duo transitions from a precipitous moment into a stone-cold jam session with a lustfully bubbly mood.
NPR logo

olive.

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484214562/484312449" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Songs We Love: denitia and sene., 'olive.'

Songs We Love: denitia and sene., 'olive.'

olive.

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484214562/484312449" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

denitia and sene. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

denitia and sene.

Courtesy of the artist

Within the first five seconds of "olive." — the new single by the R&B-adjacent Brooklyn duo denitia and sene. — you know it's about to go down. It's unclear which direction the song'll swim — but it doesn't take long to find out, because that precipitous moment quickly transitions into a stone-cold jam session, courtesy of producer and orchestrator Sly5thave of the band IGBO.

"We've been talking about working with Sly5thave for a while, as far as the denetia & sene. project," Brian "Sene" Marc says. "This was the first time we actually got together, just the three of us, and worked on a jam under [that] flag."

denitia and sene, "olive." Speaking Ameriky hide caption

toggle caption
Speaking Ameriky

With Sly5thave's assist, Sene and his musical other half, Denitia Adesuwa Odigie, are on a persistent and passionate journey, unafraid to acknowledge their situation and ask for what they really want: "Olive, soaking in your skin, floating through your drink / Such a dangerous mix to get involved with, but we can solve it."

The lyrics that follow and float throughout border on treacly, reflecting the lustfully bubbly mood of the song. But it almost doesn't matter; the words take a backseat to the way they're enunciated and harmonized, as well as the sounds that surround them. The groove lives in the same pocket as Chris Brown's high-energy 2013 single "Fine China," but "olive." ripples and billows as Sene rocks steady through a confident 16 that snuggles into the coolness of the track, capped off with a quick tip of the hat to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's "The Message."

Sometimes Denitia goes it alone, and sometimes Sene does. But the moments when their vocals swim through and around one another are when the real magic happens.