Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The way you held my gaze, my lovely one

Though I'm eager to buy young Zimbabwean-born, British-residing singer Tinashé's upcoming single "Zambezi," I kind of hope its release is going to be pushed back a few weeks. As far as I know, it's still set to come out on June 27, and I just haven't seen enough evidence of radio play to leave me confident that it's going to be the hit it should be.

If you made me choose one word to describe "Zambezi," I think I'd go with "beautiful." Give me a few more and I'd say that it's simultaneously sad and uplifting, one of those songs that seems to be enhanced by an authentic simplicity but that actually has dozens of little carefully linked together elements that are made even more impressive by the way they blend together.

To traffic in stereotypes for a minute, the mid-tempo "Zambezi" has the sort of chants and musical lightness you might expect from a songwriter with roots in Sub-Saharan Africa, but they work naturally with the dancing electronic sparkles and almost house-style piano lines. Organic electronic pop, it has a magic that reminds me of Donna Lewis's "I Love You Always Forever" (though with that being one of the best songs of the past two decades, I'm reluctant to declare "Zambezi" as on its level quite yet, and I don't see it as that kind of all-conquering hit either). Maybe throw in a little of Ne-Yo's closer done in an African style, some of the gentleness and vague folkiness of a few buzzy British pop acts, and keep in mind what the Matrix did with Jason Mraz's "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)"--how they musically conveyed the impression of a talented singer-songwriter who probably worked everything out on an acoustic guitar but whose work was improved with smartly used waves of electronic production effects.

Even without the lyrics, "Zambezi" feels like a memory of a young couple's kiss under the summer sun, looked back on with affection for what was experienced and regret for what was lost; like a slightly faded childhood photograph, which reminds you of an innocence and joy you can't recapture and yet makes you smile more than enough to outweigh any thought of tears; and, maybe most of all, like one of the best, warmest pop songs I've heard this year.

"I can see Zambezi in your eyes."


If you live in the UK, you can preorder Tinashe's single "Zambezi" from iTunes here. The Tinashé Re-Edit is also worth your money. "Come On Over," a collaboration with Kissy Sellout available on Tinashé's Mayday EP is also worth getting.


Paul said...

it IS very summery - i can see myself getting into this if I heard it while I was out and about...

Damian said...

It's like summer vacation version of for example Take That's "Greatest Day", very lovely, I always quite positive towards this sort of songs, it always sounds fresh.

Poster Girl said...

Paul, then let's hope more people have the chance to hear it while out and about!

I like that comparison! Me too--I have a weakness for this type of song as well.