Reviewed by Vaibhav Thomas & Staff
Hip-hop/rap and R&B together are rightly regarded as one of the more potent fusions in all of contemporary genres, if not the most. The reason is straightforward – the songs are beyond catchy, the listener is almost instantly hooked on to the versatility and energy of the artist, and the technical mastery in terms of arrangement and production, which has to be on a whole new level, and even out-of-the-box. And, above all, the numbers work aptly and are relatable in nearly any context, mood, or occasion. And when someone immensely talented and bold, like a Bruno Mars a la 24k Magic, does come up with a number that ticks the box for every trait above (and sometimes more), the listener is left craving for more. And more. That here, precisely, is the case with the newest, and deeply personal, single from Saint Brown, titled ‘G.O.A.S. – Graduation Of A Saint’.
Written in the key of B-flat minor over a four-chord progression, G.O.A.S. is a poignantly energetic number that is primarily rap, with elements of R&B and soul. Given that, it was imperative that an indelibly catchy hook and chorus ought to be part of the occasion to start off with, and Brown, with his silky vibratos and energetic high notes – highly reminiscent of John Legend – already takes the challenge head-on. (I must admit that by the end of the first verse, I found myself crooning to the chorus.)
With a magnificently constructed chorus – both melodically and lyrically – Brown proceeds to showcase his prowess at spoken-word rap for the verses – delivering the lyrics with near-virtuosic precision and self-sufficient energy, with its earthy quality rendering it an underlying poignancy, reflecting childhood struggles and the lack of a guiding hand. (‘..Became a weapon, while testing lessons manifesting blessing steady ducking heaven..’ and ‘…Becoming a man at eleven, straight to hell with no heaven..’ are splendidly written excerpts that encompass the heart of the entire number’s purpose, and are delivered with fiery rhythm.) And the song is incredibly well-arranged and mixed, with all the right elements at the right places, right from the bass, to the synths, to the bass, and to the mixing of the kick, right down to the double-tracked vocals, the song is an auditorily sumptuous feast. The anthemic touch to the final chorus rendition, aided by the vocal counterpoints, rounds off the 3-minute-12-second number.
A song about coming into your own, evolving, and graduating (from school and into manhood as a better human being), Saint Brown gets an A+ for this song. Mainstream-sounding, deeply personal, and yet light, fiery, and purposeful, Saint’s ‘G.O.A.S.’ is a winner all the way. And certainly among the more versatile and energetic compositions and performances of this year!
About Saint Brown Saint Brown is a rising hip-hop artist from Washington, DC. His music is a reflection of his personal journey and the struggles he faced to become the person he is today.
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