RāViewz: Music | April 2021
Here's what Rāwiri is jamming to this month...
Silk Sonic - Leave the Door Open
When two of R&B's greatest voices team up, you know it's going to be a massive hit, and that is exactly the right description from this first release of super-duo Silk Sonic.
Melding the mainstream melodies of classic Bruno Mars with the nuanced Motown influence of the critically acclaimed Anderson .Paak, Leave the Door Open is as fine an ode to classic baby-making jams as we've heard in years.
Immediate and intimate, it has already topped the charts in New Zealand and Israel and looks set to ascend the heights of Billboard's Hot 100.
It's all class, and its both contemporary and timeless, a rare feat for such a big hit.
Doja Cat - Streets (Silhouette Remix)
Proving that there's still plenty of hot left in her 2019 release Hot Pink, the seventh single from that album was guaranteed after it blew up on TikTok with the #SilhouetteChallenge of which this remix is named.
Taking off with a sample of Paul Anka's 1959 song Put Your Head on My Shoulder before unleashing a pulsating, smouldering downbeat, Doja's layered vocals impress her recently released lover to come through for one more round.
The success of the Silhouette Challenge might have inched the song close to saturation point, but the atmospheric R&B song is hard to resist, especially in the hook. Plus, if you get a little tired of this version, you can try out any of the four other remixes that made the cut of the EP.
First Time - Teeks
Fans of Teeks have been waiting close to four years for him to follow up his Grapefruit Skies EP, a collection of songs that wowed New Zealanders and garnered a cult following across international waters.
The resulting album is Something to Feel, a line both included in, and delivered upon, with this lead single, First Time.
Stylistically, the song's production bares similarities to American contemporary Giveon, whilst Teek's dulcet tones recall a refined Maverick Sabre. Truthfully though, First Time has more in common with the truly great love songs of 60s and 70s Motown artists.
With stripped instrumentation, warm electric guitar and a winning vocal performance from the man himself, Teeks has all the ingredients for a modern R&B classic, as well as the soundtrack to your next healthy relationship.
Dizzy Fae - 360 Baby
Minnesota native Dizzy Fae's 2018 mixtape Free Form led to international exposure (not to mention acclaim and support from Lizzo) and with each mixtape release she only gets stronger.
Her latest track, 360 Baby, is the perfect slice of Janelle Monae-ish uptempo pop/funk/R&B. "Oh my God, you just missed it," she purrs at the hook, "I always get what I want."
Bold, brilliant, and every bit the Boss Bitch she describes here, if you don't know her yet, let 360 Baby be the introduction to an already impressive and relentlessly intriguing body of work.
Peaches - Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar & Giveon
For his latest album Justified, pop's reigning Prince, Justin Bieber, has enlisted the help of some of R&B's most exciting writers and voices. One of the record's best example is Peaches, Billboard's most recent #1 on the Hot 100.
Maybe its Covid fatigue, or maybe its the swirling undercurrents of racial, economic and environmental disasters that dominate the landscape in 2021 but there is something so easily swaying, so seductively freeing about a song like this.
Justin, Daniel and Giveon's voices are all displayed in fine form here and work well against the beat of the bouncy R&B/Pop song.
No message to extrapolate, no heavy lifting to endure. Justin likes peaches from Georgia, and weed from California, and that's all there really is. Sometimes that's all you need.
Busta Rhymes ft. Mariah Carey - Where I Belong
You might remember a certain collaboration back in 2003 that had an up-swinging Mariah Carey trade chorus lines with Brookyln's fastest rapper, Busta Rhymes. I Know What You Want was a massive worldwide hit but can they recreate the magic all these years later?
In short, hell yes. Without Flipmode Squad submitting their own verses, 2021's Where I Belong (from last year's Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God) feels much more like a proper duet with both artists getting more time to shine.
The mid-tempo thug-in-love duet carries a similar mood to its predecessor, but if the sound of this seems a little predictable, the two heavyweights elevate proceedings in the third verse with an unbelievably impressive spitfire showing from Busta, while Mariah runs toe-to-toe along the top line.
Really, its two of the '90s greatest successes showing the kids exactly how to do hip--hop and R&B in the '20s.
Joanna - Sur Ton Corps (Le Sexe)
Her unique style and fusion of musical genres have earned her comparisons to FKA Twigs, but with songs like this, French singer/songwriter Joanna will have no need for anybody to draw parallels.
Taken from her forthcoming Sérotonine album, Sur Ton Corps (Le Sexe) is a sultry, seductive mid-tempo number. As the title suggests (in English: 'On Your Body'), this is all very late-night rendezvous. With Joanna, though, beware: she's in the mood for honey-flavoured violence.
If the obvious sex appeal doesn't have you speaking in tongues, it should at least imbue you with a few choice phrases in Français.
Russ - Bankrupt
When Bankrupt was released, singer/rapper/songwriter/producer Russ claimed that it was the best work he had done. The first listen might have casual fans second-guessing the talented maestro, but once repeated, this melancholic midtempo reveals just how effective it is.
In less than three minutes Russ finally acknowledges the end of a relationship and the toll that its had on his soul. Reminiscing over a drink and a spliff, he declares that its time to let go because "I don't feel the same love, my heart is bankrupt."
He drops this line twice in each chorus on major, rather than minor notes, indicating that he knows there is hope in the distance, and its this type of honest confessional that makes Bankrupt so much more compelling than your average heartbreak song.
Check out all of this month's tracks on the RāViewz Spotify playlist!