Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Indie Music: i am Love "Self-Titled"

by Germar Derron

I can't categorize this. I don't know that I get it.  But I absolutely love it. For me, i am Love’s Self-Titled is exactly what I needed. I've read and wrote and listened and cried and gotten mad (especially with the non-indictment of Darren Wilson). The music works, on every level, like only music can. I admit that it’s taken awhile to complete this piece. And because this is paragraph one, it may still take time.

I still work on the outskirts of the music industry in Los Angeles. Something that we music snobs, rock veterans, and former music majors still love to say is “that’s not real music.”  We look for the instruments, the collaboration, the sweat, the performance of it.  And though I get it, Ableton, Fruity Loops, and dudes with laptops just ain't the same. In Self-Titled, I found the music.

This project reminds me of every musical thing that I've ever done. It’s like marching, jazz, and concert bands, mixed with some beat-making, flawless vocals, and set to a movie.  Right now, THIS is the soundtrack of my life. Listen, and my thoughts will become yours.  But other than the obvious horns, rare instrumentation, melodies, and harmonies, something else makes this personal for me—the variety and versatility.

It's a part of my culture that we all do everything. I didn't realize how uncommon this jack-of-all things was, until I met people from other schools, other families—other cultures. In my world, it was not uncommon to see the best sax players put down their horn, grab a trumpet, and become the best brass player. When the fire alarm sounded, we beat on the desks, danced in the aisles and a full on party happened mid-fifth period. And I'm not really a rhymer or singer—unless you need one. No, I don't see i am Love passing around instruments like we did. But that same freestyling flowing vibe is there.

I don't think it matters who sings. It doesn't matter who plays lead, or who plays at all. It’s all good. It’s the opposite of what happens in most pop music. We all loved Destiny’s Child, the Jackson Five, and the Supremes, as long as we were listening to Michael, BeyoncĂ©, and Diana Ross. i am Love is the Bulls in the 90s, but everybody wears 23 and wins the MVP. It’s an absolutely beautiful project from top to bottom.

I can’t call it perfect, but I can call it 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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