Leela James Breaks Free in ‘Put It on Me’

Leela James welcomes the long-overdue end of a toxic relationship in “Put It on Me,” a new single released on Friday. The track will appear on See Me, the R&B veteran’s seventh studio album, due out July 30.

“Put It on Me” is a driven by pounding pianos and a tick-tick-tick beat in 6/8 time. James sings with her usual gravelly grace. “Heaven knows everything you did to me/Why in the hell did it take so long to leave?” she wonders, squeezing an extra syllable into her question to help drive the point home. Later she adds, “you wasn’t worth all this, I should’ve stayed on my own/I should have been gone.”

“Put It on Me” follows “Complicated,” which came out in February. That track has been steadily climbing on R&B radio, where it reached Number 10 last week, according to Mediabase, a company that monitors activity on the airwaves.

James’ previous project was 2019’s Are You Ready, which was fiery and feedback-drenched. “I’m known particularly for my straight-up R&B,” she told Rolling Stone at the time. “People don’t know the other sides of me exist as well — the rock, the funk, all of it. This allows me to be little more open in showing that.” Her last “straight-up R&B” album came out in 2017.

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