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“Pray Before You Start Your Day” by Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes

We’re witnessing a modern soul renaissance unlike anything the pop music world has known in the past forty years right now, and it’s largely being driven by independent artists who owe nothing to the mainstream conglomerates – and everything to the old school ethics this genre was built on. In their new single with Izaiah James, “Pray Before You Start Your Day,” Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes are determined to inject the upcoming autumn season with a rich optimism that has been pretty difficult to come by in any element of life lately, and with a hearty soul-filled melody to lead the way, they get exactly what they were looking for here. 


Chemistry is always the most important part of a collaborative effort, and I think that Melvin and James have a particularly strong connection for making a piece like this one. James is particularly ambitious behind the mic, but with The Bluenotes backing them up, these two prove that they can be co-managers in a piece of material seemingly made with one specific director in mind. It’s impossible to copy this vibe, but quite possible to take influence from it if you’re an artist with similar goals in mind. 

The narrative created by the lyricism is uplifting in every way and made even more powerful than it would have already been thanks to the depth of harmonies we’re presented with by Izaiah James here. He’s got the right moves to bring together these words in a fashion that feels almost gospel-like, drawing inspiration from the church and the ferocity of a proto-rock n’ roll era in R&B the same. Call it retro if you like, but this is a sound that stands to really mold an increasingly melodic hip-hop movement we’re hearing out of the southeastern United States at the moment. 

There’s no chase in this vocal attack in the latter half of “Pray Before You Start Your Day;” truth be told, my man is actually having to let the beat keep up with the model his voice is defining from one verse to the next. The percussion isn’t the carrot on the end of a stick – these lyrics are, which goes a long way towards tethering the aesthetics of this release with those of the OG soul and funk that helped to establish so much progressive pop songcraft on both sides of the FM dial no more than two generations ago. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and just as you should be smart about what you’re consuming off your plate in the morning, you should be mindful of the melodies you allow to influence you as well, and Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes’ “Pray Before Your Start Your Day” is the kind of jam made to start your mornings off the right way. With Izaiah James riding shotgun, these soul craft masters throw out a groove that is impossible to resist no matter what kind of mood you’re in, which hasn’t consistently been the case for the exciting pop tracks coming out in the past couple of months. 

Mindy McCall



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