Coast 2 Coast feat. The Fantastic Gems - 'What's Going on 2021'
Review by Daniel Deprè & Staff
“What’s Going On 2021” is a soulful and groovy cover of the original song by Marvin Gaye. This cover maintains the originals upbeat groove but then cranks it up to 10. While the original was very soft and contemplative, Coast 2 Coasts cover is epic and really expressive. The instrumentation is filled with lots of surprises, and it keeps “What’s Going On 2021” interesting throughout. This song is truly a timeless masterpiece and Coast 2 Coast have brought it back into the spotlight with their very unique take on it. Covers often serve as a nice reminder that there is no one way to make art, and this cover is a beautiful reminder of that.
“What’s Going On” is a song that is needed today as much as it was when it was released. It’s such a beautiful and thought-inducing song that asks for the end of hate. America is facing such a crisis stemming from racism, and it’s heartbreaking to witness and hear about. This cover is so empowering, and it really brings out the original’s sense of empathy and love. 2021 needs more music like this so that we can continue to heal and come together as one. The vocalist of Coast 2 Coast certainly takes inspiration from Marvin Gaye’s singing style. However, he really makes the track his own with a deeper voice and truly expressive embellishments.
The arrangement is a wonderful twist on the original. Mixing a very rhythmically active organ with very ethereal background vocals is a wonderful combination of colors. There is also an amazing use of percussion instruments, often employed to help bring the energy level up and to further flex the groove. Perhaps the most impactful aspect of this arrangement is the spoken names of all the African American people who have needlessly died at the hands of the police. It will bring tears to your eyes.
This cover is a tribute to the victims of police brutality and it’s truly powerful, but it also serves as a calling to everyone to wholeheartedly ask, “What’s Going on?” We need to get to the source of this pervasive issue and stop it. Change needs to happen. Black Lives Matter.
About Coast 2 Coast Feat the Fantastic Gems
Back in 1968, at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, a music group called The Fantastic Gems was born. After graduation, the talented musicians went off to college, the military, and new careers. Years later, two of the original members reformed in Washington D.C. as "Coast 2 Coast" and began recording and performing from 1986 to 1990.
In 2016, The Fantastic Gems got back together to fulfill a promise they made to each other when they were young students in New Jersey. The result of their reunion was the release of The New Old Skool. The project took three years from conception to completion. The album is a tribute to their musical roots, and was made in recognition of the community who encouraged, supported and shaped their musical spirit. The New Old Skool features 11 great songs that fans of R & B, Gospel, Pop, and Jazz will love.