R&B fans craving a fresh style from an uncompromising talent needn’t look much further than the six songs that make up It’s My Life, the latest release and virgin extended play from none other than The Voice’s DR King. Among the half dozen deliciously original tracks are leadoff singles “Gravedigger” and “Love is a Drug,” both of which took on a life of their own following credible, noteworthy releases last year, but they’re hardly the only reasons to check out It’s My Life this February. King doesn’t hold back in any of these songs, and using his trademark inventiveness, he deconstructs their melodies piece by piece only to reassemble them in the most unique ways we could imagine.
Most of the tracks on It’s My Life are lyrically-driven, but they don’t take their musical elements lightly in the least. The arrangement of instrumental explosions that dot the landscapes of “Do You Love Me” and the equally psychedelic “Your Body” are studded but not quite rigid in execution, while other, more subtle moments like “Crying Alone” are structured around minimalism, delivered surreally and with a dutiful nod to the contemporary postmodernism movement. Obviously in the politically provocative “Gravedigger,” the poetry steals all of the thunder away from the backing band, but at every juncture, this EP is as even and balanced as they come.
The way that It’s My Life was produced doesn’t leave much exploration up to the listeners in locating the most acrylic grooves on the record, all of which receive a VIP-treatment in the master mix that helps us to really enjoy every danceable melody in this EP. “Anyway” plods along stoically, but its colorful beats are as muscular as any that we find when listening to the more direct “Love is a Drug” or “Do You Love Me.” I wouldn’t call this a club soundtrack per say, but there’s still plenty of neon rhythm here to ignite passion on your favorite dancefloor just the same.
I really, really love the fact that the instrumental parts that guide “Gravedigger” and “Your Body” along are evocatively designed as to reflect the deep emotional narratives in each song (as conflicting as they may be). Too often, modern R&B singers have rejected the grueling hours of hard work that come with making a record as chic and intricately structured as It’s My Life is, and as a result they end up looking like complete amateurs next to someone of King’s creative caliber. Getting this EP out took some time, but let me tell you, the substance of its songcraft makes it more than worth the wait.
Winter 2018-2019 has been an underwhelming time for new releases to put it very mildly, but despite the disappointing output of his contemporaries, DR King has issued a white hot six-track collection in It’s My Life that is easily an early contender for best of the whole year. Fashioned with an aesthetical duality that he’s slowly becoming known for, it packages King’s sound in a tightly mixed disc that begs to be played on repeat, and in my experience, it gets its way every time. Fans of R&B young and old would be wise to secure themselves a copy of this exciting, headstrong extended play this February 22nd.
Photo credit Melissa Scheetz
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