If you’re looking for fire-quality beats this summer, Baba Jenkins has you covered with his provocative new single “Wild” and its thoughtful music video. While most of the attention related to the indie soul and rock crossover scene has been focused on the American arena, the justifiable unrest has been plenty active on the international level as well, and this is an artist who appears ready to make a play for both this autumn. The video for “Wild” feels like a tribute to lust and rhythm incarnate and those who are caught in the thick of it at the moment, while its melodies feel like the theme of a new boss player on the scene.
Instrumentally speaking, there’s a lot of detail to the structure of this single that forces Jenkins to utilize a multilayered master mix as opposed to something simpler, but I wouldn’t be quick to deem him an indulgent artist because of it. Complexities are too often dismissed as being the result of aesthetically-experimental recklessness when it comes to new experimental works in R&B as well as conventional pop/rock, but in the last year, I’ve heard a lot more content in the vein of “Wild” that pushes the envelope (in a good direction). I think we’ve all heard enough cut-and-dry pop in our lives, and this is someone who agrees.
The vocal is always the most robust element in “Wild,” but it doesn’t edge out the presence of the bassline and the percussion at all – in many ways, it’s the yin to their collective yang. Based on the clarity of the mix in this regard, I think it’s obvious that Baba Jenkins wants us to know how much disdain he has for synthetics in contemporary rock. His melodies are crisp and clean and, even with the complicated arrangement, the instrumentation sounds wholly organic and anti-robotic, which are hard to find in the plasticized commercial pop sector.
There’s some volatile contrast to the melodic parts at the start of the song that caught me off guard the first time I sat down to hear “Wild” last week, but the tone this juxtaposition eventually contributes to the song was a welcomed addition for certain. When you get down to the technical details of this single, and for that matter the video, it’s not difficult to understand why Baba Jenkins is picking up the steam with a diverse array of listeners that he is this autumn – with his sonic intellect and the ground he has left to cover, he’s a musician worth getting a little excited about.
I’ve been hearing lots of good soul-rock in the last couple of months, and this is easily among some of the best from the underground that’s come across my desk in that timespan. His is a growing scene, but Baba Jenkins strikes me as someone who would catch my attention even if he were stationed in a more mainstream-focused market than the one he’s in at the moment. He’s got the right moves in “Wild,” and although it’s far too early to say how far he’s going to go in the game, there’s absolutely evidence here that suggests he’s got a pretty good thing going.
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