By Reece Jamison
This issue, I will discuss two tracks, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar’s, “Pray For Me,” and Marian Hill’s, “Subtle Thing.”
At this point in time, The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar need no introduction. With the meteoric rise of the hip-hop, rap, and R&B genres of music in America, these two artists among many others, have achieved legendary status in what can be considered a short amount of time with regard to past supergroups and artists respective careers.
In this collaboration of The Weeknd’s soulful and sweet melodies and Kendrick’s biting, prophetic bars, the result is a track of empowerment for the “Black Panther” soundtrack, and if the movie is anywhere near as polished as this badass album, I cannot wait to see it.
“Pray For Me,” sonically, sounds like a typical The Weeknd track (reminiscent of his “Starboy” album released in 2016). The fuzzy, and malevolent bass keeps the track bounding as it is accented by lucious, 80’s synth pop chords and pipes. The lyrics of the song detail a lone warrior fighting for justice in his society of corrupt politicians and natural disaster. It is a haunting song that is made all the more palpable by our current geopolitical climate.
Marian Hill, formed in 2013, is a group consisting of singer Samantha Gongol and producer Jeremy Lloyd. I saw the band perform at Bonnaroo in the summer of 2016 and was absolutely floored by the subtle, catchy pop tracks and atmosphere they were able to create. This group was able to keep the entire tent dancing and bouncing up and down for their whole set with a grace and confidence normally achieved after years of touring.
This new offering, “Subtle Thing,” follows in their typical production roots with tightly wound, looped beats, groovy basslines, vocal samples that have been chopped and screwed, all complemented by Gongol’s laid back, sexy, and sleek singing. The track as a whole is not as exciting as some of their previous work, but it still catches one’s ear with its hazy, yet casual mood. It’s a subtle thing.
Music, the spellbinding phenomena that connects us all. Here, Reece pays that notion no mind as he gives his completely biased and totally arbitrary opinion on music and the culture around us.