Saul Williams – “The Noise Came From Here” (Singles Going Steady)

Ferguson needs protest anthems, and this is a terrific one.

Chris Ingalls: A bold, vivid social statement, both in the song and the video. A lot of disparate elements come together in a way that initially doesn’t seem like it will work, but it does: spoken word, gloomy spirituals, primitive keyboards, a galloping beat. It’s a potent stew, and an important one. Ferguson needs protest anthems, and this is a terrific one. [8/10]

Chad Miller: Powerful lyrics and a bold slam poetry section add a lot to this song. Not a lot happens in the song musically, but the tribal chants are pretty effective in context of the song. [7/10]

Pryor Stroud: The track starts with a traditional African chant circling around the low-burning wreckage of a failed racial protest – that is, one that failed to enact immediate change but still meant something ineffable and lifelong, became utterly irreplaceable, for the people involved. There’s clapping, but somewhere weeping as well. Williams weaves through the track’s exuberant rhythm and drawn-out, homogenized synth notes with respect and psych-hop aplomb, both onlooker and leader. “You’ll never touch my love,” he repeats, avowing the impenetrability of the heart beating in his chest and in time with the drumbeat, as if to say, “My skin — our skin — is tougher than yours.” [6/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Saul Williams’ upfront, uncomfortable poeticisms move along with the backwoods gospel handclaps. Musically, it adds to the pro-black, anti-racism lyrics about police brutality. At times, Saul can come across as too abrasive, losing his message slightly in the musical aesthetic. Still, he does meld the slave past with the white privilege present both sonically and lyrically, creating a track that has the soul of every African-American, both old and young, who’s suffered under oppression and racism. “The Noise Came From Here” isn’t meant to be analyzed; it’s to be felt. [6/10]

SCORE: 6.75