RāViewz: Music | December 2021
Here's what Rāwiri is jamming to this month...
Silk Sonic - Smokin' Out The Window
One of 2021's biggest success stories, the pairing of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak as Silk Sonic has given both slow jams and bangers for the millennial crowd, and the success and warm reception of last month's studio album An Evening with Silk Sonic was all but guaranteed.
With their third single Smokin' Out The Window, the duo find the funk in a midtempo groove that emulates 80s soul classics. Recounting a failing relationship, the boys lament the loneliness and bitterness that can only be felt at love's end. "This bitch got me payin' her rent... diamonds on her neck... and here I am all alone..."
Heartbreak might not be easy, but the smooth charm of Smokin' Out The Window makes you want to sing along full voiced, finger snaps and all, until the song's crescendo.
Mariah Carey, Khalid, Kirk Franklin - Fall in Love at Christmas
Already an international star by the time her 1994 Christmas album came out, few could have known just how ubiquitous Mariah Carey and her uber-joyous All I Want For Christmas Is You would become at holiday season. Whether soundtracking yuletide movies, creating Chrimbo TV specials, riding Billboard's top spot of Hot 100, or remixing previous hits with new artists, Mimi has become synonymous with Christmas.
And so it is again that Ms Carey sleighs the season, with a brand new holiday song. Collaborating with pop mainstay Khalid and gospel musician Kirk Franklin, the trio have created a romantic ballad replete with some lush Spanish guitar.
It vaguely recalls her album cut After Tonight both in its lyrical concept and melody progression but is given distinct flavour and personality thanks to the inclusion of Khalid, whose subtle baritone contrasts well with Mimi's sensual, subdued delivery.
Just the type of song you and your boo will fall asleep in front of the fire to.
Mario ft. Chris Brown - Get Back
As both artists emerged in the mid 2000S to try and claim Usher's R&B Prince title, it's actually kinda surprising that it's taken until now for Mario "Let Me Love You" Barrett and Chris "Take You Down" Brown to finally collaborate.
Taking a modern trap beat and channelling their best 00s-era lyrical prime, the two singers add another hit to their canon of sensual R&B jams. "When I close my eyes I feel you wrapped around me," they croon in the song's chorus. "Girl you're flawless like the diamonds in my timepiece."
An early cut from Mario's upcoming sixth studio album, it might not be especially original material (is anyone even wearing a timepiece these days?) but it's an effective late-night jam delivered with the confident come ons of two of this century's most successful crossover singers.
Pink Sweat$ - Nothing Feels Better
Philadelphia native Pink Sweat$ has a lot to be happy about in 2021. His career skyrocketed thanks to crossover success with 2021's At My Worst and his debut studio album Pink Planet dropped earlier in the year to strong reviews. All of this might go some ways to explain the title of his latest song Nothing Feels Better but knowing Sweats, the inspiration came from somewhere more personal.
A songwriter committed to love, honesty and intimacy, Sweat'$ latest ode to love is a touching guitar-plucked acoustic affair. "Nothing feels better than you," he croons, "all those kisses and hugs... forever I'm yours, just know that I'm all in."
Undoubtedly, this declaration has more than a little to do with his March engagement to bride-to-be JL Bunny. And based on Pink's performance here, Nothing Feels Better will be the soundtrack to a million crushes in late 2021.
Juice WRLD & Justin Bieber - Wandered To LA
He was one of hip-hop's recent rising successes before becoming one of the recording industries biggest tragedies, and Jarad Anthony Higgins, aka Juice WRLD, had helped define emo rap for a generation. After bouts of depression, mental illness and drug addiction, his untimely death by overdose in 2019 left a vault of unreleased material including his fourth album (and second posthumous one) Fighting Demons.
Wandered To LA is one of Juice's more upbeat and energetic efforts but beneath the apparent chill of the rapper's titular exploration of Los Angeles is the revelation that the trip turned into a drug-fuelled bender. "Maybe it's the love, maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's because my girlfriend is the plug..."
With production duties tightly helmed by HARV and Louis Bell, and a complementary guest verse from Justin Bieber, this is yet more evidence of Juice WRLD's potential as a true hip-hop star with longevity.
SZA - I Hate U
As the festive season approaches, it can easy to forget that not everyone is happy and loved up and in relationships. Take SZA, for example. The New Jersey native has always been unashamedly naked in her lyricism and her latest single might be her most honest.
The simple downtempo beat puts the Grammy-nominated singer's stream-of-conscious verses front and centre before punching up with powerfully melodic pre-chorus. "I've been up, baby, heavy reminiscin', heavy on the missin' you," she sings, wishing that shit was different than it was.
And then, almost casually, the chorus reflects "and if you wondered if I hate you. I do," and it's genuinely impressive how she makes anger sound so good. She rounds out the chorus by restating the wonderment, only this time following it up with an effective, "fuck you."
It might not be the warmest holiday offering but for those alone this season, it might be the most relatable.
Check out all of this month's tracks on the RāViewz Spotify playlist!