Tracks of the week Reviewed: Noname, Leon Bridges and Aries

Noname - Rainforest

Noname’s new single, ‘Rainforest’ serves as the lead single for her forthcoming album ‘Factory Baby’. ‘Rainforest’ also marks Noname’s first contribution to the musical world since she dropped ‘Song 33’ last year, which was a song aimed at rapper J. Cole due to the criticisms he fired at her in his song ‘Snow On Tha Bluff‘.

Rainforest” sees Noname explore societal flaws in an extrospective examination that delves into the harsh truths associated with capitalist ideologies and classism. Lines such as “Dyin' on stolen land for a dollar like that ain't fucked up” and “Made the world anti-Black, then divided the class” highlight the consumerist, racist and capitalist identities of the US that Noname refers to throughout ; and how classism becomes a by-product of these state mandated “necessary evils” to allow the Upper Class to continually reap the rewards of the lower classes. Almost fed up by her own narration and inquisition, Noname longs for a temporary pardon from it all in the closing lines of the chorus “I just wanna dance tonight (Dance) / I just wanna dance tonight

The instrumental to this track is heavily jazz infused and features a range of carefully layered percussion ranging from the bongos to a wooden agogo. A low register guitar riff joins this mix of percussion to create the perfect low tempo platform to allow for Noname’s signature delivery to flourish.

Leon Bridges, Keite Young - Like a Ship

Leon Bridges and Keite Young combined to create the track “Like A Ship” which is born out of the Truth to Power Project. The Truth to Power Project is a creative endeavor working to engage people with inspiring new music and multimedia content to encourage community involvement.

The song is a remake of the 1971 track “Like A Ship” which was sung by Pastor T L Barrett. Pastor T L Barrett said the following about the song “Like a Ship”, Barrett says, "That was me when I was 16. If you listen to the song, it says, 'I know we can make it/I know we can take it,' and whatever's negative that's clinging to us, 'I know we can shake it.'"

The only verse in the track offers various accounts of the woes he falls victim to as a result of misdirection but he then injects a degree of levity to finish. The following words “I searched for pleasure (I searched for pleasure) / But I found pain (But I found pain) I look for sunshine (I look for sunshine) / Yes I did, but I found rain (But I found rain) / And then I looked for my friends (I looked for my friends) / Yeah, they all walked away (But they walked away) / Oh, oh-oh, through all of the sorrow (Through all of my sorrows)” are seen to be countered by the following “Haha, I just know one thing y'all, but I know (But I know we can make it) / Haha, we're still gonna make it 'cause we're proud people (But I know we can shake it)” and this recognition of difficulty without succumbing to it perfectly encapsulates the buoyant and optimistic sentiments present with the lyrics.

Much like its predecessor this track is heavily Jazz inspired in production and makes great use of a lowly drum and double bass melody. The tracks gospel nature can really be felt within the choir of whom add great degrees of texture to the song to allow the message of hope present within the words to echo all the more louder.

Aries - DITTO

DITTO” is Aries’ first release of 2021 and joins November released “FOOL’S GOLD” and December released “CONVERSATIONS” as songs that will feature in his sophomore album “A2*

On the track “DITTO” Aries provides running commentary on the sharp contrasts in emotions he experiences within a personal relationship of his. Extremely conflicting statements are used in succession to emphasise the disarray within his feelings, the lines “I laid awake for you / All the photos do me nothing” and “I made a way for you / Don't shut me out, yeah” provide great examples of these ideas as Aries appears to be torn between intense bouts of nostalgia and a yearning to move on.

Sonically “DITTO” features Aries’ unique blend of Alt-Pop which in this track's case encompasses a soft drum pattern, an acoustic guitar loop and soft coos to help reflect the reminiscent sentiments present within the lyricism