Tuesday, March 20, 2012

s/s/s - "Beyond a Doubt"

Every time I post hip-hop on my blog, I usually go on a rant about how I don't normally post that on here - I'll spare you that this time. When I originally heard about s/s/s (the Sufjan Stevens, Serengeti, Son Lux collaboration), I had mixed feelings. The only major draw for me was Son Lux's participation due to his work as a ballet composer and his masterful album We Are Rising. Sufjan Stevens has more or less lost his way and as hip hop is not my normal forte, I wasn't particular familiar with Serengeti besides hearing his name thrown around.

When I heard the first cut from the Beak & Claw EP, "Museum Day", I wanted to despise the project. Sufjan Stevens using autotune is one of the most unnecessary things considering he's a pretty spectacular singer and Son Lux's participation was reduced to behind the scenes stuff (he cut and stitched together the track) and backing vocals but there was some potential in "Museum Day" which is what made me return to Beak & Claw when the stream went up today.

"Beyond a Doubt" is by far the absolute strongest track on Beak & Claw, it's essentially what makes the whole project worth it. There's two composers/arrangers at play here which helps make an absolutely hooking intro so that when Serengeti enters with his more-or-less rapid-fire lyrics, you actually want to catch every word he's spitting out. You're not waiting for the next thing to happen, you're hanging on his every word to see where he goes with it. And then Stevens and Son Lux enter for the chorus quietly harmonizing alongside a melodic synth. The track pretty much stays consistently the same from there but wow. It's as catchy as it needs to be, as long as it can be without seemingly overly repetitive, and features each members respective talents pretty well. Son Lux is more or less a background player once again but considering the outcome, you don't mind it that much. It's an absolutely dynamite track.

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