Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Steven A. Clark and a lengthy list of others represent a progressive movement in both Black music (if such a thing truly exists) and in pop/R&B as these artists and their contemporaries have been wildly experimenting and redefining how R&B, hip-hop and pop look, sound and concern itself with thematically. And if you pay attention, there’s a sense that this movement has started to accurately reflect not just the diversity of thought, feeling and opinion within the Black community, but a commitment to capturing particularly modern sentiments, isolation, ennui, frustration, the difficulties of truly connecting with others in an age of increasing self-obsession and more. Interestingly though, what seems to have been forgotten is our own interest in the ideal Romantic hero – the brooding, tortured, enigmatic soul, who feels and thinks deeply, whose art is a reflection of their innate sensitivity towards outward and inner beauty and to their demons. On a personal level, my hope is that these artists can pave the way towards towards the dismantling of ugly, racial stereotypes. But in the meantime, it has lead to a greater sense of freedom with artists expressing themselves, their concerns, their innermost desires with an unflinching, fearless candor.
With the release of his self-released debut effort, the Los Angeles-based (by way of NYC) electro pop artist Gallant received critical praise internationally from the likes of Pitchfork, The FADER and NME. However, instead of embarking on a lengthy national tour, like many of his contemporaries, the up-and-coming artist spent the better part of last year holed up writing the material which will appear on his forthcoming follow-up EP – and he then signed with Mind of a Genius, the record label home of the Grammy-nominated artist ZHU. Of course, his debut effort has put the Los Angeles-based artist on a growing list of pop and R&B artists who have captured the blogosphere with sparse, chilly atmospheric production paired with seductively crooned vocals that delve deep into the psyche of its narrators. In the case of “Talking In Your Sleep,” Gallant’s latest single, the song consists of layers of undulating synth stabs, skittering percussion, bursts of twinkling percussion, ominously swirling electronics and an incredibly catchy hook while evoking the vacillating thoughts of someone who’s both jealous and paranoid – every little thought, musing, utterance means everything and nothing simultaneously. But it also displays Gallant’s silky smooth vocals and range as he goes to a arching falsetto to a croon within a turn of a phrase.