Jacqueline Constance | photo via facebook.com/Jacqconmusic

The new single from Jacqueline Constance comes quite close to falling into the “answer songs” category — the folk-adjacent tradition where one songwriter’s work thematically responds another songwriter’s work, and they move back and forth in free-flowing creative conversation.

Typically that designation involves intertwining story lines, and it’s not quite certain if the scene Constance sets is picking up where someone else left off. What is clear is that the Philly experimental R&B singer named her latest work “Carl Thomas” after the turn-of-the-millennium Bad Boy Records crooner, and the hook of the song (not to mention its overall downbeat 808-driven vibe) is a callback to Thomas’ 2000 hit single “Emotional“: “I got you emotional, and you can’t let go / cause you’re trying to hold on.”

Is the heartache she imagines one and the same as the heartache Thomas describes? Is she presenting the point of view of the voiceless other person in his story, or is she simply seeing her own story in Thomas’ strains of lowkey rhythms and moving melody, nearly two decades later? Listen below and hear for yourself.