Words by Eddie STATS Houghton
It’s a double selection! And luckily we have two major examples of super-heavy mainstream pop-reggae that need to be addressed. In chronological order: SuperHeavy–the ol’ slumdog super-group we told you about comprising Mick Jagger, Damian Marley, AR Rahman, Joss Stone and Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics–quietly leaked their first track “Miracle Worker.” And in spite of the dude from Esquire dismissing it as “tiki-bar bullshit,” it is actually pretty tough.
The problem with superhero team-ups like this is that you’re expecting the value of the individual members (hundred out of a hundred for at least three of them–not gonna say which three but they come from India, Jamaica and UK, respectively) to be squared when in fact they’re almost always averaged–assuming the equation adds up at all. The main takeaway from this song is that Mick Jagger is a beast (maybe THE beast?) but even though the track is a little schizo–Stone’s sunny chorus almost seems like a different song from Jagger’s “Gimme Shelter” wail–it all hangs together surprisingly well, thanks in no small part to Junior Gong playing master of ceremonies (and presumably Rahman waving a conductor’s wand).
This Miguel track that dropped today, though, is something else again.
On the one hand, I’m gratified to see Migs Money following in the JA-soul path laid by John Legend, Rihanna and Melanie Fiona. This kinda stuff just validates our whole LargeUp worldview (cool starts in the Caribbean!) and I’m generally kind of a fan of Miguel (or at least I’m a fan of Miguel-and-Salaam-Remi) but this particular fusion is too much Bruno Mars, not enough Black Chiney. Not that you can blame the reggae part–the superslow one drop lays a wicked foundation with it’s rockish “Roxanne”-style guitar licks but Miguel’s voice is too light–sonically and emotionally–to um, gel with it.