Adriane Pontecorvo: Layered with Peter Pan references, surreal puppet side characters, and marvelous guest vocalists, “Same Drugs” is a masterpiece about growing up and growing apart. Chance the Rapper crafts a warm, soulful ballad about resisting life’s changes even as loved ones give in. His video, filtered to look like a vintage episode of The Muppets, tells the story even as he sings it: he starts out wrapped up in a childlike fantasy, and finally gets up and leaves it all behind, walking into darker, colder reality. This is a tender ode to the inevitable, artful and bittersweet. [10/10]
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Dutch producer Junkie XL‘s latest music is the impressive new score from the Red Bull Media House film Distance Between Dreams that documents one of the greatest surf seasons ever through the eyes of surfer Ian Walsh. Junkie XL uses traditional analog synthesizers that roil with the waves of water in the video and mesmerize with gentle beats that seem programmed to reflect the very earth itself.
Mike Schiller: There is something special, all right, about Lee Fields’ ode to his one true love. Soul music is so difficult to do well because its very name implies an authenticity that too many artists have a hard time conveying, while Fields manages to make it look easy. Maybe it’s because he’s been doing it so long, maybe it’s because he truly believes what he’s singing, but Fields’ voice, his words, even the way he moves on the screen, all of this feels warm, and natural, and right. Leaving the spoken-word coda off this video cut was a smart move as well, as it allows “Special Night” to exist as a pure and true love song, with none of the melancholy rumination on loneliness that sets up the rest of the album. It’s an absolute gem. [9/10]
Andrew Paschal: The geometric, digitized music video befits the clunky, clattering electronics that form the skeleton of the first half of “RVK”. These first few minutes are interesting enough if a little graceless and borderline irritating. It’s Raphaelle’s vocal contribution, coming in during the song’s latter half as it morphs into a moody, ambient reverie, which imbues “RVK” with real pathos and elevates it to a higher level. [7/10]
Steve Horowitz: This track and video kick serious butt, taking on the problems of the world in a direct, powerful, and poetic manner. Tempest raps straight and true, pointing out the bullshit (literally) and distractions along the way. The beat is steady, the imagery thoughtful and compelling, but it’s the words that carry the weight. Freakin’ awesome and scary. The lessons told are too complex for restatement other than to say we live in perilous times and it may be too late to do much about it other than to tell each other the news lest we each think we are nuts for thinking bad thoughts. [9/10]