I know it began and is supposed to be a product of “the streets”, but trap music probably has a better sense of humor than any other genre.
I’ve noticed that great creative works meant for a wide audience all have one thing in common – they can’t take themselves too seriously. The work of commensurate craftsmen lacks soul. The journeyman can look back, but doesn’t have much acumen for innovation. Pure melody can certainly be pretty, but how can it engage you another level outside of the awe and knee-jerk wonder? It swings the other way of course; comedians tend to make anything a joke and musical punchlines tend to be one note.
A mix, then. A bit of humor sprinkled into a well constructed composition that aims to please with catchy atmosphere, mix in the occasional flash of technicality, and all of a sudden we’re audience to a musical masterclass. This Settle Down remix from Baauer is definitely cooking, in case you didn’t get where I was going yet.
Of course, like so many great reworks, the Harlem Shaker is tearing down and rebuilding some solid source material. The original mix of Settle Down is classic No Doubt: it’s an upbeat bounce that doesn’t skimp on the good vibes. All well and good. Then Harry Bauer Rodrigues swings in with his palette and brush and paints in vibrant, bright colors. The result is enchanting.
Many of the samples are happy to flitter through the background, like the upswinging alarms and the clips of chirping birds. The manipulated “Hey Oh”s from Gwen Stefani have been tweaked into some Harry Belafonte ish. The kick drum cuts through pretty hard, with extra punctuation on the attack. This thing could be playing from the speakers of some futuristic cabana with the sound spilling out onto the synthetic sand of a technobeach where the tides and water temperatures are controlled by the people in attendance. The song is the soundtrack to space age sun worship, in other words.
I’ll be honest, I was in a bit of a funk before this came on. Turns out, this is one last cure for what I’m sure will be my final case of winter blues. Hence the trees and sun and positive vibes in this post. Huh, a piece of music having an emotional reaction on the listener. Who could’ve imagined?