5 Bilal Songs to Swoon Over
September 22, 2016
We understand that categorizing things like music makes things easier to digest, but every once in a while an artist comes along whose very presence defies all genres–taking up the charts and expanding into parallel musical universes. Bilal is one of those artists. You can throw his music in with the likes of D’Angelo, the Roots, and Robert Glasper–vocal and instrumental purists to the highest degree. The American artist is heralded for his vocal range and complex orchestrations that cover all manner of sound. We obviously can’t wait until he joins Nu Deco Ensemble for a special collaboration at the season opener on October 27th – 29th. So, to get you ready for what will be Faint Fest 2016, here are 5 tracks that highlight his best qualities:
Alright, I admit, I’m starting the list off with my personal favorite and also an absolute classic. The track immediately starts on a funky note all keys and bass, heralding in some vocal harmonies that set the table for the feast of a voice of his. Let the falsetto take you away, people.
As part of an homage to Miles Davis, for the recent biopic Miles Ahead , Robert Glasper used the legendary jazz musician’s work as a platform from which to grow the film’s soundtrack. He brought in friends like Erykah Badu, Steview Wonder, and Hiatus Kayote to help and “Ghetto Walkin'” is Bilal’s participation.
His 2013 album, Love Surreal was a manifestation of Bilal’s maturity as both an artist and as a human being. Bringing Robert Glasper back for this one, “Butterfly” is a soul-crushing whirlwind of a piece, flooded with piercing vocals and a tantalizing piano.
One of Bilal’s most celebrated tracks, “Love It” is a perfect representation of the early 2000s R&B sound. Uplifting production, smooth vocals, choral backing, all the kind of stuff that makes you happy and gets you in the right mood. You might as well just listen to 1st Born Second in its entirety.
“I Really Don’t Care”
Moving into the jazz-o-sphere on his most recent album, Bilal brings an essential blend of soul and improvisation back to the airwaves. In Another Life find the seasoned artist still searching for caveats of expression he has yet to master and “I Really Don’t Care” is a pristinely packaged thing, piano, bass, soft drums, and those chops you’ve fallen hard for.