Editorial: Music Reviews (Sampha & Brent Faiyaz)

Both articles explore the music style and culture of Sampha and Brent Faiyaz.

So Far Gone But Great
Brent Faiyaz’s album ‘Sonder Son’ presents listener's a narrative about pursuing your dreams separately/ return of old school RnB – resonances of Donell Jones, Usher. The young singer definitely represents the nostalgic millennial.
Brent Fiayaz’s debut album ‘Sonder Son’ has proved to be hit through its old school RnB resonances; Brent takes everything back and provides audiences a new sound. and ‘So Far Gone/ Fast Life Blues’ where the climax of musician's unique sound is. The album Sonder Son introduces audiences to a life of a dreamer wavering somewhere in the streets of LA, but also somewhat is grounded and courageous in telling a about his dreams, lover and desire for the world.
When I first listened to the ‘So Far Gone/Fast Life Blues’, everything was so picturesque, and I imagined myself too as a dreamer not yet anchored in the world. There’s definitely some melodic cadencies where you feel this sentiment; the line that evokes the blues of the song will definitely have to be “Who gone go to hell for me?”. This line is the climax of the song in being centred in the bridge. The line is a protest for the ambitious and translates its meaning as, “Who is going to take this burden of dreams away from me? because I’m exhausted already”.
Another line that pushes this message forward will have to be when he says, “can’t judge by my way”. Here, Brent places himself in the perspective of his cherished lover in whom is excessively protective of. She like the wandering soul that moves restlessly in the other songs on the album is also trying to hustle her way through the bustle. As a young woman, I can relate; my desire to succeed in whatever field is often prompted by the need to focus and cancel out distractions which may appear in the form of relationships and love. What is most poignant and ironic about Brent’s shifting perspective is that he understands the need to be vigorously passionate about what you love denies you the ability to “love” a person completely - thus cancelling out human connection on an intimate level; the material substitutes real tangible feelings and emotions.
For all the music lovers that pay attention to lyrical vernacular and emotive scenes in songs, add this to your playlist. Brent’s narrative of complicated hustle and distorted relationships speaks volumes. I think this is a song where fantasy is destructive, and the harsh realities of life as complicated is the only dream that survives. It seems in Sonder Son, nobody really survives and has knowledge of what move to make next. The message in the album is clear - passion is pivotal but even that isn’t enough sometimes.
The Sounds of Sampha
Crowds nodding their heads casually, some within reach of his presence and others hopelessly trying to catch some sort of vibe. I mean where you place yourself in this crowd is confusing and still doesn’t make sense. Grave facial expressions, twisted ones in fact but somehow there is a pursuit for love in this place. We have all come here to find something, to meet something just not ourselves. We have come here for him, he, Sampha.
It takes a while for the realisation to settle but the ethereal sound will do something to your soul, something ineffable. Will I experience such a scene again? In my dreams maybe. But Sampha was more than a performance, he was an awakening and I did wake up. His artistry had placed things into perspective, one that I convinced myself that I had found already.
His sounds and visual production communicated to me that I needed to be more tenacious and less of a loather. A brief disclaimer to my reader, but this time I will move with action, move with speed, move with something. Even if it means losing yourself because new knowledge gained is self found. Now I proceed to the more critical part of his performance.
‘What the moon projects the moon protects’ – such words speak to the idea of allowing yourself to evolve to a level of spontaneity that you could never imagine. Sampha as an artist speaks to us not just because of his epic sound production but his lyrical vernacular which speaks to the ‘Coming of Age’ through a combination of grace, love and truth all of which are components of his magical composition. The ‘Coming of Age’ is made complex because of a range of factors, age, the strange realisation of awkwardness and the not knowing who you are thing. It’s a peculiar interim, a space that is not yet void but not completely occupied. However, ‘Indecision’ deconstructs the emptiness of the imagined scene. This is an artist that is daring in all ways, he departs from conventional sounds and provides us with a nostalgic tone. Somehow in the nostalgic tone I knew myself in that moment watching him. We knew each other, whether this resonated with him or not. Sampha my dear, we are both under.
Music is the only remedy for madness, the rest is all speculation.

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    Cheryl Osei
    Content Producer