• Rawiri James

RāViewz: Music | April 2022


Here's what Rāwiri is jamming to this month...



Ella Mai - Leave You Alone


When Ella Mai hit the bigtime in 2017 with a pair of mainstream R&B smashes (Boo'd Up, Trip), she helped signal a shift in viability of a genre that had spent the best of a decade fighting for a spotlight.


Cut to five years later and the British singer's career has never truly reached the heights those early singles hinted it could. And yet, with each successive release, there is more and more to like. Leave You Alone, her latest, is another bluesy post-break-up song with (hashtag) relatable content and sweet vocals. Let's hope her upcoming album Heart On My Sleeve does big things.


 

Chris Brown - WE (Warm Embrace)


As ubiquitous as he is, it seems hard to believe the upcoming release of the Breezy album will be his first full-lengther in three years. Still taking shape, Chris Brown tests the waters with a noted return to his R&B roots on WE (Warm Embrace).


Synths, drums and Poseidon allegories are all present, as is an earnest vocal performance from the R&B/Pop's reigning vocal acrobat. For fans of CB who still spin classics like Take You Down, this new release is a strong indication of a hotly-anticipated forthcoming set.


 

Marques Houston ft. Chrissy - Let It Go


Marques Houston was one of many R&B singers to experience significant commercial success at the turn of the century. Despite changing musical tastes on Billboard, the man once-known as Roger from TV's Sister Sister has continued to put out croon-heavy swagger-tinted records.


Houston's falsetto is strong as ever here on Let It Go, delivering the chorus's high harmony line that recalls plenty of R&B's dominant early noughties era. Chrissy, fresh off her 2021 album Organic, trades lines with Marques and the two singers blend their voices seamlessly. Alongside a haunting piano riff, it's a modern throwback that works.


 

Tiana Major9 - On God! (Fool Me Once)


Over the top of warm guitar strings, London songstress Tiana Major9 attempts to strip unnecessary complexity from an aging relationship. "We ain't gotta make it too hard, know you got a piece of my heart... that's on God"


From her album Fool Me Once, Tiana majors once again in soulful pop records, delivering a heartfelt set of lyrics and vocals that are destined to soundtrack a million Springtime meet-cutes.



 

Latto ft. Mariah Carey - Big Energy (Remix)


When Latto released the original version of Big Energy in September 2021, keen-eared music fans recognised a familiar sample loop. That loop of course belonged to Tom Tom Club's 1981 hit Genius of Love, but most people know it better for being sampled on 1995's superhit Fantasy by Mariah Carey.


And so, when the talented rapstress began climbing the Billboard chart, it made sense to reach out to the singer herself to help out with a new remix. And help, she does, not simply taking backing vocals but recreating the first 8 bars of Fantasy and stamping the song throughout with switched lyrics.


Latto and Mariah sound like they're having a blast, and the updated spin has ensured Latto's biggest chart success to date.


 

Maverick Sabre - Good Man


"I try to be a good man," a familiar voice hums in the chorus of Good Man, "but you don't believe me..." Ironic, really. Since his major label debut in 2012 with Lonely Are The Brave, Maverick Sabre has been described as many things. Unconvincing has not been one of them.


The second single from his fourth album Don't Forget To Look Up from earlier this year, Good Man is a midtempo pop/soul song with all the hallmarks of classic Mav: lyrical poetry, 70's inspired instrumentation and an easy, likeable charm.



 

Check out all of this month's tracks on the RāViewz Spotify playlist!


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