AN EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY COLUMN BY ITEM MAGAZINE, OFFERING AN ARRAY OF NEWLY SELECTED UNDERGROUND & MAINSTREAM MUSIC, TO BRING MUSE TO YOUR MONDAYS!
BY CONTRIBUTOR TRE FLOREZ
1. Wasted - Summer Walker
R&B’s latest breakthrough-hopeful, Summer Walker of Atlanta, released a four-track EP, "CLEAR", this late January; which is an emotional, deconstructed diary entry turned into song form. Mrs. Walker has called herself an introvert that keeps to herself, and her inner emotions are expressed via the exterior of every one of her songs, which is also very apparent in her last work, “Last Day Of Summer”. She has an original way of deploying her lyrics, that exposes her soul in a tender and personal way.
The track, "Wasted", stands out a bit. It is more of a potential love letter to a suitor, than anything else and gives notion to how love can be ever so addicting. The melody here, is synthesized heavily with a bass guitar. Paired with Walker’s perfect R&B voice, you can feel the emotions sailing through your ears with each chord strum progression. Her delivery of such lyrics, compare love to alcohol, where she enjoys the taste and feel; even in knowing, that addiction comes at a high cost. She spells this out in the first verse:
“What an addiction, so high a cost
What a tough experience. Imagine, knowing that the one you love to be with, is not necessarily good for your life or your sanity. Walker is mature enough to recognize this person is not the best for her, but is admittedly not strong enough to walk away from it.
The entire four track EP is emotionally cut from the depths of the soul and are worthy of putting on a loop for the feels. Maybe, you may also recognize the poison in your own love life, once have done so. "Grave", is a more upbeat, sassy song, dedicated to unworthy men she has interacted with. "Riot", is an under two minute letter to a lover that she feels has drifting away. And lastly, the jazzy, "Settling", is just as it sounds; a story of how Walker is settling for a lover she feels comfortable enough with, but knows that there is probably better out there, for her. Listen to the live recording of, "CLEAR", below:
Seven words: we’re all ready for the album, sis
2. Mile High - James Blake feat. Metro Boomin & Travis Scott
James Blake – a singer and producer from the UK – had a very busy 2018; being featured on the soundtrack for “The Black Panther” and working on his newest album, "Assume Form", that was released this January. The album is an electronic-R&B tangent, one that is a sound all in its own. With Blake doing most of the production, his classic-yet-updated form, proves he has a lot to give. He definitely gives it his all! With features from Andre 3000 and production contribution on a few tracks, from the likes of Metro Boomin, there is a wide range of music to chose from here. Some are closer to R&B and some are more aligned with an electronic based track.
Blake undoubtedly, caters to many different music tastes. On, "Mile High", both Travis Scott and James Blake add their voices; it is very unbalanced, over a hypnotic yet soothing classic Metro Boomin trap beat. The track is electronic here, an increasing used amount of sounds over anything else; all of which, remind you of a late night drive through your nearest city.
The song starts with a short line sung by Blake, and transitions straight into Scott's rap verse, and then goes back to brief singing. The contrast between Blake’s deep and raspy singing voice to a higher pitched, auto-tuned voice, is very apparent. It is much like the contrast between what is being said and by who. Travis Scott is here to keep things trappy and grounded, and Blakes part remains exposed.
In verse two, Travis Scott reminds you that despite the overall tone of the song, he still has ass on his mind, and maybe a little bit of love:
“If I give it to you, will you leave?
And in verse four, we get Blake in a similar delivery, about a lover he wants to hold on to:
“Hi-Vis, never seen
While the lyrics lack a bit of convincing, the production value and sound of this track make up for it, tenfold. The sound is nothing like what we have out today and James Blake is mainly to blame for it. He has been being featured all over the Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B sphere for years now; from producing for Beyonce and Jay-Z, to the Black Panther soundtrack, and even becoming a renowned member of Frank Ocean’s revered producers. James Blake is solidifying his position in the industry, with every new move he makes. Working with Travis Scott, as an experimental artist in the field, makes sense.
We recommend you take a listen to his entire (yes, in whole) album "Assume Form", to decide for yourself.
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE,
a poet and freelance fashion writer, photographer and abstract visual content producer.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University, where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column For
The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first of 25 Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early. Bringing him to four degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, from commercial retail management to corporate level ghost writing. Now - he the poet - T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent launch of the urban California lifestyle based fashion-art movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.