Funky Vibe for Five for the weekend
Another weekend coming up means I’ve got another serving of fresh vibes hot out of the oven for you. Let these vibes rest for at least 5 minutes before serving or you’ll burn yourself bad! This pair of tracks will bring you more funky grooves in just a few minutes than entire jazz nights at some bars out there.
If you aren’t aware of Brittany Howard and her excellent band Alabama Shakes, I’m super excited to objectively improve your life! Don’t be scared by how much the name sounds like a Mumford and Sons clone, as Howard’s amazing voice and songwriting prowess lift the band’s output way beyond whatever you’re expecting it to sound like. Howard released an acclaimed solo album ‘Jaime’ after Alabama Shakes went on hiatus in 2019, and this incredible re-imagining of one of its lead singles ‘Stay High’ was recently released along with remixes of the entire album. The song features none other than Childish Gambino taking over the vocals.
To accompany the new vocals, the production also gets a funk makeover, swapping the original song’s folksy guitar with smooth violin and sharp, pulsing percussion. Childish Gambino takes to the lyrics like he was in the room while they were written. His gentle falsetto really lifts up the words, but stays laid back enough to avoid the trap of some falsettos where it sounds so forced that you can’t stop worrying if the singer is hurting themselves or not. Even if you’ve never heard the original song, this lively and fresh interpretation is an amazing introduction to Howard’s songwriting skills, and you should absolutely check out her solo album if you haven’t.
You can thank my random perusing of Spotify’s park hangs collection for this breezy and cool single ‘freetime’ by Vancouver-based soul group Schwey, seemingly produced over the internet during the 2020 lockdown, with excellent guest vocals and guitars by Pasadena artist Satchy. The chorus is as simple as it gets, with all the band joining in to sing “I’ve got free time” over and over in light falsettos. It warms on you quickly and feels like a nice glimmer of optimism knowing the chaotic and uncertain context the song was produced in.
Even with the simple lyrics, the band isn’t phoning it in when it comes to weaving together funky pockets for the singers. The song would have been excellent had it stuck with the beat it established, but the production also showed great variety and clever switchups packed into its short listen time. The single’s simple but very colorful and sweet video on Schwey’s YouTube Channel is sitting at a criminally-low view count for how catchy the song is!
Both songs can certainly deliver that boost that gets you up and moving whenever you need it most. Both songs strike a great balance of funk instrumentals with mellow and sweet lyrics, which means they’ll go down even easier with a chilled can of TAKE FIVE’S Lemon Lime hard seltzer – zesty spritz with a sophisticated, clean finish, delicious!