Club music can be made of so much more than beats, and if think this statement is even slightly sus, you need to go out of your way to hear the new single/video combo “Just Believe” from tyDi & JES this spring. Although steeped in grooves that were undeniably designed to get us onto the dancefloor more than they were anything else, “Just Believe” benefits from a colorful bassline and a stunning lead vocal that together foster a lot of melodic bliss where there would normally be a sterile rhythm. This is the antithesis of the robotic club jams you’ve heard before, and it’s making waves in the pop underground right now because of it.
These harmonies are much more delicate than anything else in the track is, but they don’t feel out of place next to the throbbing percussion that tyDi is turning out in the backdrop. JES has an alluring lead vocal that doesn’t need to be screamed at us for listeners to feel her intimate kinship with the music, and by taking things much lighter than needed, she’s showing us that the last thing on her mind in this performance is outdoing any of the physicality that her peers have been designing entire albums around.
tyDi knows JES’s speed, and in this arrangement, he builds a hook that is going to get the most out of her vocal no matter how heavy the groove is behind her. They’ve got such a chemistry that it verges on sensuous in a couple of spots, with the release in the chorus feeling like a tension-burning climax as profound as any you’re going to experience outside of the recording studio. I don’t know if they could replicate this same kind of energy in a live show, but if they’re able to, it would be criminal not to share this on the road.
I found the video for “Just Believe” to be oddly dreamy even though it’s constructed as essentially an ad for another dating app in the vein of Tinder or Plenty of Fish, and the artistic symmetry between the narrative in the imagery and that of the lyrics isn’t lost on me at all. You can’t screw up the romantic edge that JES is affording the harmonies with her sterling lead vocal, and that essentially is what puts this piece over the top for me as both a critic and a viewer.
After a long time following JES through the years, I’ve come to expect nothing less than a really solid show of strength whenever she collaborates with a likeminded player, and it’s on this front that I think her longtime fans aren’t going to be the least bit surprised by what she’s doing with tyDi in this single. tyDi & JES deliver the goods just in time for a cultural return to the dancefloor, and if you haven’t heard either of their work before coming across “Just Believe,” this might be the right song to start your odyssey with their sound.
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