This is an important moment in the history of America, and with incredible movements tends to come an incredible soundtrack. Damon Little is intent on lending a piece of his heart to the moment of 2021 in the profoundly cinematic music video for his song “Stand Up,” and whether you’re a big gospel fan or not, its contents are definitely worth taking a look at. There’s nothing politicized about celebrating life and the pursuit of justice, and that’s exactly what this video does – all while engaging us through moving harmonies as simple as they are over the top with affection.
The powerful imagery comprising the music video for “Stand Up” presses classical Civil Rights Movement concepts and themes, but with a uniquely modern twist from one shot to the next. There’s a very humble tone to the visuals here, with nothing feeling particularly excessive or unnecessarily indulgent, and in the past five years, this is something I haven’t been able to say about the majority of gospel crossover tracks to have landed on my desk. Little is a man of efficiency, and his style is giving us some high-quality content in the form of this video.
In “Stand Up,” the groove has as much to communicate with the audience as our vocalist does, and it’s given the lion’s share of the spotlight whenever Little isn’t singing. Between the percussion and the bassline, there’s such a slick beat shadowing my man’s every verse in this performance that he never has to structure the cadence of his lyrics on his own. He’s literally riding the beat, and while that gives this track more of an R&B aesthetic than some gospel purists might be comfortable with, it’s precisely what’s going to bring this player even more attention than he would have received otherwise.
Although I don’t know the details of the production, I have to guess that no expense was spared when it came to the master mix here. The instrumental definition is incredible, and rarely is there a moment in which it feels like anything is spilling into the lead vocal, as it pins everything together from the center of the arrangement at an especially polished perch. Damon Little is a details man, and you don’t have to be a serious music critic to appreciate how much work he’s putting into this single at all.
“Stand Up” is an emotionally charged song, but it’s worth taking some time out of your day to enjoy. The music video is heavy and brings the point of its creation home epically, but even without the visuals it presents us with, the music and lyrics here are powerful enough to have a real impact on anyone who happens to be within earshot of Little’s amazing voice. He isn’t holding back from us at the helm of this recording at all, but instead giving us everything he can in the name of praise, diplomacy, and a comradery between humans that isn’t brought up in popular music nearly as much as it should be.
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