Something is missing. Tonight, a thousand ill-fated couples, flush with the vigor of booze and the prospect of conquest, will seclude themselves in softly-lit rooms. The mood will be set, the shades drawn low. But man, there just ain’t no music to bump to.
Our generation is missing the instantaneous dry-hump-inspiring sounds of our own Marvin Gaye, Prince, or D’Angelo. Blaqstarr’s new EP, Divine, though, gives us all hope for a stickier tomorrow.
The Baltimore-born Charles Smith – best known for his work with M.I.A and Rye Rye – has just released his fourth EP. Divine is an electronic cross pollination of up-tempo silk and neo-soul infused vocals, and frankly, the majority of the EP lives up to its title. The 7-track recording experiments with a more sensual sound than he’s generally known for, but showcases an immense talent for balancing his hometown grit with pop-glossiness. Songs like ‘Wonder Woman’ feel full and engaging despite stark minimalism. ‘Rider Girl’ crescendos and cascades behind Blaqstarr’s vocoded crooning. The title track, ‘Divine,’ teeters between sexy and down-right nasty with distorted lines like, “can I lick your ice cream?” The EP closes with the crisp yet nostalgic, up-tempo song, ‘Set It Off.’ He may not have the vocal capacity of his predecessors, but he more than makes up for it with creativity and assertiveness.
This EP is devoid of the shake-ass, gut-kicking drums and synths found in Kala’s ‘World Town,’ which he co-wrote with MIA. Nor does it have the dark and gritty insidiousness of tracks like ‘The Turn,’ and ‘XXXO’, (XXXO he produced, but unfortunately M.I.A. makes the two diverse tracks sound almost identical). Rye Rye ghetto-style ass dropping is nowhere to be found. But dude’s got talent, and I’m damn excited to hear what he puts out next.
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