By Cosima Worth
This year has been undeniably difficult but Anderson .Paak’s prevalence on the music scene has been a definite highlight. Paak’s catchy and upbeat new single JEWELZ offers some relief at a time of international demoralisation, a stark contrast from the radicalising cynicism of his June release Lockdown.
JEWELZ, co-produced with Timbaland, is sleek and vibey. Paak’s drum beat provides the foundation for a contagious rhythm, entwined with easy-going synths and a funky bass riff. It takes on a pitched up vocal style, which is new for Paak and gives it a lively animated vibe reflected in the visuals: cartoon replicas of him and his son Soul adventuring together (a nod to a viral video of the pair dancing to the track which was released on Instagram back in April). This new sound has yielded some criticism from fans of Anderson’s usual, more organic vocals that are a defining feature of some of his older stuff. Arguably, this track isn’t as groundbreakingly incredible as some of his classics. Paak is renowned for his trademark rap style, which is so singularly unique to him, and this feel-good piece of funk-pop has seen him converge a little closer to the sounds of other artists, so it’s unsurprising there have been some negative reactions.
Nonetheless, as a fun, uplifting anthem, JEWELZ really kind of slaps. It’s easy to imagine that it’ll become one of the defining songs of 2020, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it makes it big on TikTok. From the flawless production, to the sound-bytes of Paak goofing off in a mock British accent, everything about this track is addictive.
It’s unlikely we’ll have to wait much longer for more. Given the nature of the lyrics ‘I ain’t even put my jewels on, I ain’t even played my latest, greatest song’, we can assume the rapper has more up his sleeve for the near future. It’s been a year and a half since the release of his latest album Ventura, so, going by his previous pattern of yearly album drops, the next is a little overdue.