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]
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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]
Morgan Y. Evans: I dig how catchy this is as a woman supportive anthem from a bunch of skinny British dudes. It makes you want to dance hard and high five all the cool, strong women you know. A lot of times depth has a hard time co-existing with groove and hooks unless you find a sweet spot. I mean, that is why some songs can be pure shit lyrically, but you still feel compelled to move your ass. “Alpha Female” reminds me of Radiohead and White Lies a little bit paired with the sort of relevant current events video aesthetic and sense of watching lives revealed through a camera lens that you get from M.I.A., for example.
Andrew Paschal: This gorgeous standout from last year’s Potential finally gets a video treatment. Every piece falls perfectly into place: the summery, yearning vocal sample, the dense bass, and the sparkling, Caribbean inflections strewn throughout all cohere into a startling euphoria. Artists of all stripes have spent decades telling and retelling the myth of the “youthful summer night”, and James Hinton’s work here is a reminder of why we continue to do so, even after the idea has been trodden out so many times before. A delicate constellation of physicality and memory, aching and joyfulness, “Florida” retells the story perfectly with barely a word. [10/10]