Hello and happy Friyay! Welcome to my new series, Fire Music Friday. If you haven’t realized it yet, I’m heavily into music. If I haven’t told you and you’re not psychic, I do apologize. I’d like to start integrating all of my interests into my blog and therefore create more of a true magazine vibe. If you’re new to my blog thanks for stopping by! Let me know what artist you’d like me to cover next in the comments.
If you like classic soul and R&B music and you haven’t heard of Leon Bridges, first of all…where have you been, under a rock?! Also, just go listen to him now. You won’t be disappointed. His new single, “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” has me swaying and swooning almost as hard as the first time I heard Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness or I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, two of my all time favorites.
The groovy and scintillating break up song is one of both lament and happiness, for what could’ve been and for what was. After all, those wise words almost turned cliché are true:
“‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson
The single off of Bridges’ LP
Good Thing suggests the obvious sadness surrounding the occasion of saying goodbye, yet a bittersweetness hangs over the tune. It discusses those romances that don’t survive due to bad timing or the wrong circumstances, those sometimes too sweet for our own good.
“I got it bad
I think you know
You’re everything, you’re beautiful
But my life is fast, can’t make it slow
We’re here right now
Kiss me before I go, but you got to let me go” “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand” by Leon Bridges
Those words are so powerful and I feel the pain in leaving someone you actually like behind the crooning vocals and expert instrumentation. It also somehow manages to be sexy and danceable as well, a triumph for a break up song in my opinion.
This trend in music is something I’ve been enjoying lately. The groovy breakup song theme also exists in Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know the Better” another recent favorite of mine.
As noted in Pitchfork’s review by Marc Hogan,
“The track is a swooning ballad, with delicate orchestration out of the 1970s Chicago or Philadelphia molds, and his vocals rise to a tender falsetto reminiscent of Smokey Robinson…”
-Marc Hogan (pitchfork.com)
Due to obvious comparisons to 60s Soul and R&b giants Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, some have criticized Bridges for not using his platform for greater good. I say, those people don’t understand the plight of the artist trying to get his first big break and Grammy.
Yes, he’s received moderate acclaim for his expertly made 2015 debut album Coming Home, a Grammy nod and he performed on Saturday Night Live and on the opening slot of Harry Styles’ tour, but this is still an artist in the beginning stages of his career.
After all, the Beatles’ first hits were cheery boy-band-ish pop tunes and they had little to do with the political statements their music made in their late and great years, both as a band and as individuals. It’s clear what levels of musical greatness they were capable of reaching, given time. I’m sure any artist would like to gain traction before experimentation both musically and in political messages ensues. Still, there’s nothing wrong with good pop songs about love, and I’m here for them all day.
I hear the beginnings of a political stance in Bad Bad News, in which Leon insinuates that some people didn’t expect much from him, but he insists on proving those people wrong:
“Let me come through (Let me come through)
I’m tired being in the back (Aight)
I’m just tryna move up front
A lil more of this, a lil less of that, yeah
They tell me I was born to lose
But I made a good good thing out of bad bad news” Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
This and ‘Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand’ comprise upcoming LP Good Thing.
I couldn’t be more excited, and can’t wait to listen to these songs all spring and summer long and beyond!