Relaxing beats have been strangely hard to come by in 2023, but if you look at the music of Benjamin Race this October, you’re going to find where they’ve been hiding for the better part of the year. In his latest release, the all-new single and music video beside singer Ellison Kendrick, Race eliminates the need for a crashing percussive component and a lot of extreme soloing by giving up one of the crispest and most melodic R&B performances I’ve had the chance to come across in the past ten months. While his is as unique a style as it gets, there’s nothing so experimental about his technique that the sound he demonstrates here comes off as anything but wholly palatable to the listeners.
Music videos can and have tended to be a little more on the cut-and-dry side this year, seeing as the circumstances for recording and releasing them haven’t been the easiest by any means, but the way Race made “Take You Home” feels different than some of the other stripped material I’ve had the chance to review. He’s not overstating an insularity theme, but instead just giving us the unfiltered product of the song and letting the surroundings speak for themselves. He has no need nor any interest in filling up the backdrop with a lot of ridiculous fluff, and this is partly what makes him so distinct from the other big acts coming out of the woodwork this autumn season.
Kendrick’s vocal is what makes the words in this song so real and nothing else. There’s a case to be made that had a different singer been put before the microphone for “Take You Home,” it just wouldn’t be the same deep-feeling single that it is in this scenario, and it’s almost exclusively because of how powerful a stamp this man puts on it with the very presence of his natural voice. He isn’t being aggressive in his execution or anything; the urgency is just there, because of his passion and the emotion that is captured by the spirit of his sentiments. That’s masterclass-type stuff, and if you don’t believe me I’m sure there are others on the inside of contemporary pop and R&B who would be more than ready to agree.
I love the present direction Benjamin Race is headed in with his sound, and while I think it’s painfully clear that he has some elements of pop in his artistry that need more time in the spotlight than they’re getting at this moment in time, “Take You Home” shows me he’s exactly where he needs to be as a young producer and songwriter. I want to see a full-length studio album soon, and if we’re to go off of the content we’ve been offered in this release, I don’t think he’s going to have a problem creating a stacked tracklist for the fans when the time comes. There’s no need to rush though; after all, compelling art needs time to grow and develop.
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