To take the positives out of the situation, it does mean that the choices for this week’s episode sort of fall into my lap, based on old-school tracks I’ve found myself inexplicably listening to recently. The diversity you’ve come to expect (or at least did 2 months ago) from this series is still there, with 4 tracks in 4 different styles, and a nice mix of genres thrown in.
Head below for the latest instalment.
Damian Marley-Still Searching (September 2001)
One of two tracks this week that throws back a little further than usual. Taken from his little-known (at least in mainstream circles) Halfway Tree album, this was the first song I’d ever heard of his and probably remains my favourite. The soft guitar strums compliment the strong percussion superbly, creating a backdrop that is mostly laidback but with enough of a punch to keep you interested from start to finish. The vocal work from Yami Bolo and brothers Damian and Stephen is harmonious and enjoyable throughout, with each artist’s distinct deliveries offering a nice blend of styles for a little variety. A superb summer track that will improve anyone’s day.
Bloc Party-Sunday (January 2007)
I’d probably call this one of the most overlooked songs on my original love-in with A Weekend In The City, but revisiting it suggests its actually one of the strongest tracks in their entire back catalogue. It’s the gentle vocals and lyrics from Kele that make this one, demonstrating a realism and tenderness throughout that’s backed by atmospheric production and instrumentation. The instrumentation is progressive without being excessively so, opting for hushed verses and more lively verses that build to a rather grand finish, full of crashing drums, both soft and piercing guitar work, and excellent vocals. It’s probably a bit too ‘lovey’ for some, but the genuineness of the sentiment and quality of the musical backdrop are easy to appreciate for even those who like to live a more debaucherous life.
Childish Gambino-My Shine (March 2011)
I don’t know too many people (that I like) who aren’t familiar with this guy by now, though many will admit to having only heard his material from and since Camp. Whilst there’s plenty more before that in the form of various mixtapes, let’s save that for another day and make a short hop backwards to the project that preceded that album, the imaginatively-titled EP. Many will attest to this being a real turning point for Glover’s career as Gambino, with the 5-track effort being very strong and proving he had the potential and versatility to really make an impact in the music game. It’s tough to pick a definitive favourite but this certainly has to be considered, with a hugely feelgood vibe courtesy of an uplifting production, a couple of solid lines in the verses that gave some nice insight into Gambino, and finally a light and easy-to-digest hook that clearly demonstrated capability to make mainstream-ready music.
The Fugees-Ready or Not (February 1996)
Stepping on the toes of the currently-dormant Throwback Thursdays a little, but I’ve been obssessively listening to this recently. The funny thing is, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about this wonderful song? The production is flawless, with a haunting Enya sample, punchy hip-hop percussion and little else needed to create atmosphere, aura and depth in the soundscape, giving Lauryn, Wyclef and Pras the platform to deliver some thoughtful work from start to finish. Of course, that Lauryn Hill hook is iconic and truly drives this track into absolute classic territory. There’s never a bad time to revisit this track, and you should do so now.