Eric Krasno has been a prolific musician over the past 20 years, co-founding both Soulive and Lettuce, while playing, producing and songwriting for a host of the music world’s leading lights, such as Tedeschi Trucks, Talib Kweli, Norah Jones and more. Stepping out on his own has allowed the virtuosic guitar master to quite literally find his own voice as he takes the mic for the first time revealing an affecting, gentle, bluesy soul man. On his latest single, “Jezebel”, Krasno lays out a mellow soul/blues vibe with some slinky, masterful guitar playing and a tale of love gone wrong.
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Tanner Smith: Two nocturnal 1990s icons team up for a spare, cinematic ballad that offers no surprises. “The Spoils” is immaculately constructed, featuring an understated, plaintive vocal performance from Hope Sandoval (who fronts the spectral Mazzy Star) and rich granular details that come from years of making records. The song’s beautiful, string-laden chorus feels like a sad, distant, and dying callback to the group’s incredible Blue Lines classic “Unfinished Sympathy”. But where “Unfinished Sympathy” captured the ambiguous rush of love, “The Spoils” details its fall into the abyss. “The Spoils” classicist leanings prove that Massive Attack don’t need to chase fads in order to create stirring and uniquely powerful music. [8/10]
Chris Ingalls: Like that unwieldy parachute Katy Perry is dragging around in the video, the song is bloated and heavy-handed, but it’s kind of hard to get too jaded about something that’s basically the unofficial theme song of the Rio athletes. In that sense, the song works nicely and all the proper “inspirational” boxes are checked, both in the composition, Perry’s emotional delivery, and yes, that “you can do it!” video. [7/10]
Nathaniel Schwass: Pairing up with XXL Freshman Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller proves time and again that the craft must evolve with the artist. On this new single “Dang!,” Miller teases fans with jazzy preview for his upcoming album, The Divine Feminine. Featuring the crooning, brassy timbre of .Paak’s vocals, Mac and Paak piece together a saccharine ballad to alienated lovers, as Miller raps “Fuck ‘em all, let’s be us, summer’s soft sweetness/ Heartache drunk and hang up/ What a mess I made, sense I make none.” This single is a shining example of Mac’s penchant for surprising fans and gaining new ones, all the while remaining true to his artistic vision and aesthetic pleasure. Mac and .Paak make for a great duo over the acoustic percussion and swooning synths of Pomo’s production, a sure fire summer hit and an excellent tidbit of Mac’s forthcoming release. [8/10]
Chris Ingalls: The production is gorgeous—smooth, silky beats, blippy keyboards and warm low end—but that Auto-Tune is enough to put me into anaphylactic shock. That’s one of the downsides of modern melodic hip-hop. But there’s no denying that the groove is solid and it really is quite catchy. [7/10]