If it will be an exaggeration to describe Sauti Sol and Patoranking’s new release as just one that borrows from a skin-deep pop culture trend, it will, hopefully, be a pardonable exaggeration on my part for it may be that they made this music for now. After all, it is said that not all art is meant to last.
Hardly do I focus this much beneath the surface of what I consider irrelevant to me; and that, dear reader, is the big deal with this Melanin song. I was incredibly struck at the superficiality of the lyrics but not nearly as much as I was by the relentlessness drawn out by the phrase, “I have never seen melanin so dark.” Yet here is a piece, a subtle infusion of Afrobeat and RnB, which draws from celebrating the beauty of the African woman who, as we know, also comes in skin as dark as the continent is documented to be.
Barring that, I quite like the arrangement and more that the piece made for an impressive acoustic opening. Through the rhythm and the musicianship exhibited herein, various other harmonious elements asserted themselves to euphoniously carry the music through.
The visuals have not been taken for granted either; the video swanks rich aesthetics, complements the song’s plot and speaks with a creativity based on the grounded repertoire of Clarence Peters. The piece is conceived with attractive women playing on the Nairobi and Lagos upbeat night life and all the while remaining faithful to what it is trying to sell.
Still, I wish I could feel the enthusiasm that so many of my friends, colleagues and music-lovers are feeling for Melanin. Is it unreasonable for me to have listened and thought of it this way? No. For one, I am not their target audience and two, perhaps I may be refracting from what their intention was but nevertheless I listened to it and I paid attention.
Truly though, Melanin, the first video off Sauti Sol’s upcoming African Sauce album, is music just for internet likes.