The time between Christmas and the New Year is like purgatory. The big night is just far enough away that getting excited for it seems silly. You’re too exhausted from the meals, candy, and drinks to do anything (despite you’re incessant inner dialogue that you’ll hit the treadmill to undo the holidays). Sitting with a book and relaxing sounds nice, but for whatever reason relaxation in today’s day and age is a foreign concept. The constant pressure to do something, to be active, to get up off your butt is exhausting. What else is there to do, though, in this interim period? I’m here to say, it’s a-o-k to just chill. I’ve got the right track to accompany you.
The other weekend I crashed at my friend’s apartment down in the Financial District. After the whole Sandy issue, her apartment was back and running and decked out for the holidays. Having worked well beyond the healthy limit to meet deadlines, we decided to reward ourselves with a proper weekend. In the morning we cooked brunch and her roommate turned this track on. At first I wasn’t paying attention to what was coming from the speakers, but then I heard a familiar melody. I couldn’t quite place where it was from until I made the roommate turn it back.
Sandpaper kisses, paper-cut bliss Don’t know what this is, but it all leads to this You’re gonna leave her.”
If you’re an avid fan of The Weeknd, you’ll recognize these vocals from “The Birds, Part II” off his Thurdsday mixtape. They come from Martina Topley-Bird’s exquisitely quiet track “Sandpaper Kisses.” Both The Weeknd and Stephen Marley have sampled her song in ways that keep the mood of the original but work in each artist’s respective intention. In Marley’s case, his reggae tale parallels the story Topley tells. However, I’m not sharing this with you because of the stories. I’m sharing this track with you because of the vibes it gives off. I’m not much of a reggae guy, but this track epitomizes the word “chill-out.” Both Topley and Marley’s vocals blend well together and the drum beat is smooth enough to keep you awake but calm enough to sooth. To me, this isn’t reggae. It’s a fusion of soul, hip-hop, and reggae.
I’m a firm believer that music is the ultimate mood setter. Turn this track up, kick-back, close your eyes and let the sounds wash over you. There’s only a couple more days till we can party and celebrate again. We better rest up. What better way than with some solid tunes.