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Najjah Calibur’s “Celebrate”

Swirling around us in a colorful display of power and aesthetical hybridity, the melody in Najjah Calibur’s new single and music video “Celebrate” could prove too strong for some to handle, but for serious pop fans like myself, it’s just what this autumn needed to feel complete. Based out of an underground scene that has been on fire for the better part of the last year, Calibur is no stranger to competitive music culture, but in “Celebrate,” he doesn’t try to flex in the face of his rivals – he’s too busy celebrating cathartic grooves and pop-inspired harmonies to get political, and that’s probably why I think his sound is going to endure beyond that of his peers.  

While the tempo in this single doesn’t feel rushed, there’s an impatience to the unfurling of the narrative that turns the mood in an anxious direction as Calibur gets into the latter half of the song, and I think this was a deliberate action on his part. He wants to push us to the edge of our seats here, and instead of using big props or blistering virtuosities to make his point, he’s going subtle and steering his sound into an almost theatrical brand of cerebral songwriting that is bound to win him a lot of new fans this year.  

The beat isn’t just the foundation of the fun we have in this single; it’s everything Calibur needs to create a buffer between his words and the at-times overpowering synth melodies in the mix. He wanted things to feel over the top in this performance – he’s encapsulating an energy that could soundtrack the entire World Cup, and doing so without having to harp on the same chorus over and over for the majority of this track’s running time. I like his efficiency, but his willingness to utilize indulgence for what it’s truly worth is even more exciting to me as a critic. 

Fans of Najjah Calibur don’t need to be concerned about the staying power of this gifted player – after listening to “Celebrate” and watching the music video that was made in support of its release, I think he’s headed for the bright lights of cities around the globe a heck of a lot sooner than later. This single feels like a genuine watershed moment in his career, and to me, this is probably the song’s biggest statement single not only because of its compositional intensity but its melodic charm as well.  

Mindy McCall

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