Reviving the energy of disco with a contemporary conceptualism that owes a lot to the hip-hop, formative funk, and classic electronica that would form much of what modern pop has become, Joses breaks all the rules in “Don’t Turn Off the Lights,” one of two new singles he has out and trending hard at the moment. “Don’t Turn Off the Lights” features Kathy Brown and TAZ along for the ride, but the spotlight is always pointed directly at Joses himself, whose arranging is of particularly high quality in this performance (as is his direction of the collaborators he shares the studio with).
The other track Joses recently broke off to critical acclaim, “Peanut Butter,” is somewhat aesthetically conflictive on its face, but upon deeper exploration is the more streamlined and surreal of the two singles we’re all talking about at the moment. The underpinnings of the instrumentation center entirely on the notion that big grooves can tell us more of a story than lyrics ever could on their own, and from where I sit, the point this artist was trying to get across with the material – and, for that matter, the music video made in support of its release – is well-received from all angles.
In terms of key differences between “Peanut Butter” and “Don’t Turn Off the Lights,” I would deem them more aesthetical than cosmetic, being that the structure of these songs is what distinguishes their characters more than anything else. Truth be told, the surface-level themes in both of the videos and their soundtracks are pretty interchangeable, save for the more blunt disco element in the latter over the former, and I would say that it’s in the instrumental integrities of these tracks that we can appreciate how multidimensional an artist Joses really is here.
Avant-gardism is definitely a big influence over this artist and his collaborators, but I think the hypnotic nature of both songs and music videos can be attributed more to a pop-centric experimental attitude than a deliberate desire to live on the left side of the dial. There’s too much mainstream appeal in these singles for me to chock Joses’ ambitions up to those of a purely underground act like Head Fake, and I think that as he finds his footing among a much larger audience soon, he’s going to develop that appeal into an unstoppable vehicle for getting his most exciting sounds to a public who will love them.
I’m getting a pretty good idea about the kind of value Joses has as both an artist and a performer in these two tracks, but I will say that I think we’re going to see something even bigger from his camp sooner than later. “Peanut Butter” and “Don’t Turn Off the Lights” hint at some really mind-bending and genre-crossing concepts that could evolve without a lot of exposure to outside influences or trends, and no matter how long it takes him to cultivate this sound, I believe it will be worth it for alternative pop fans everywhere in the long run.
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