Features…

South Africa Now

This album is an interesting blend of music from four diverse South African artists with the potential to either capture you or leave you bewildered by the time you have finished listening to it. Featured on the compilation is Jam Jarr with the song Change to Grade.

When listening to it for the first time, I was invited into the song by an interesting composition of instruments that reminded me of a mix of contemporary American folk and rock music. When the rap-like vocals began my musical palate had to adjust to this transition so as to understand the song.

Because of my love for base beats and hip hop I had the patience to listen carefully to the rest of the song and found that below its monotone rap surface, the lyrical content revealed a love story for marijuana. I found it interesting how the love affair with this weed is expressed in different ways.

In the line “then I head back home and its time to feed” marijuana sounds like a pet; its then referred to as an adored plant in this line: “sort the stems and I search for seeds” and then like a lover in: “and then I hit my couch and do the deed”. I liked how these lines were put together one after the other, it gave me the idea that the artist – as strange as it may seem – has a good relationship with his marijuana

Despite listening to this song three times I have not decided whether or not I like it but I do like elements such the transition in instrumental composition to what sounds to me like a marriage of Scottish pipes into the existing beat.

The second song on the album Six Winters by Laurie Levine released last year in the album Six Winters, tells a different story from Change to Grade. From this song I got an expression of love lost and nostalgia. This folk-like song was almost enchanting in that the story is not told just by the vocals and lyrical content but by the composition of instruments too. There was a sincerity offered to me by the melody and harmonisation. Because of all these elements, I couldn’t help but believe Laurie when she said her love was “six winters wide, six winters deep”.

Also on the album are Rich Bitch by Die Antwoord and Take Me to the Mall by Buckfever Underground. These songs I did not enjoy at all. Take me to the Mall I didn’t like because it did not make sense to me at all, I could not relate to it from when it started to last beat of its drum.

Rich Bitch I found particularly annoying because I could not appreciate it artistically, musically or satirically. I kept trying to understand what they were trying to say to me and I only got as far as “I’m a rich bitch”.

Thank goodness this was not the line I had stuck in my head driving home – it was “my love is six winters wide, six winters deep”.

Ratings out of five: Change to Grade (3)
Six Winters (4)
Take me to the Mall (1)
Rich Bitch (0)

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