barryorchestra presents Top 40 of 2016 – #23

#23 – Flume & Kai – Never Be Like You

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When’s Flume’s first album dropped, I really wasn’t impressed, but what a difference a few years make,..I mean, wow. “Skin” isn’t exactly flawless, but the bulk of the tracks here arguably represent the future of production for electronic, pop, and even hip hop music. Flume combines the wobbly disjointed structures of dubstep with the booming rhythms of hip hop “trap” beats and the result is intriguing. The featured artist list here runs the spectrum of genres from rockers like Beck, to upcoming rappers like Vince Staples, to pop singers like Tove Lo. Make no mistake, this is essentially the sort of thing I’ve been saying you’re going to see more of in the future. Genre-less music. Not in the sense of that the music has no direction, but in the sense that so many styles are fused together that it has to be presented as something new.

I do have to say, Flume’s warped style really suits the R&B tracks on this album the best. I had a tough time picking between “Take a Chance” and “Never Be Like You”, but in the end I went with the latter, not because it was a breakthrough hit here in the U.S., but because I can relate to the lyrics more. The song is a confessional one from the perspective of someone who has wronged another in the relationship. They’re begging for forgiveness that never seems to come (at least not in the narrative here). They see perfection in this person, and realize that no matter how hard they try, they’ll never be like them. I know what this feeling is like, as it mirrors a lot of the guilt-ridden ways of relating from my past (hopefully it stays in my past too). Yet, the song isn’t sad, and much of that has to do with the production. Flume has these sparkling synths backed with a really off-kilter beat that knocks HARD. The futuristic, stuttering sounds remind me a lot of Timbaland/Timberlake records of the mid 2000s. Kai sounds great on the vocals here, which weave in and out among the sounds here, but never get lost in the mix. It’s a fresh listen, and even if you don’t care for this song (there is a version without the F-bombs, mind you), I would definitely encourage you to go check out the album.

 

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