Single Review: Black Pumas – More Than a Love Song
Nearly 4 years after the release of their self-titled debut, Black Pumas, a psychedelic-rock and soul duo from Austin, Texas including Eric Burton and Adrian Quesada, have released a brand new single in preparation for their sophomore record titled Chronicles of a Diamond. The album will not be released until 27 October of this year, but ‘More Than a Love Song’ gives listeners a taste for what’s to come.
The track’s introduction is more than captivating; as a huge advocate for the use of various niche percussion instruments, I can admit the first 10 seconds of the track brought a smile to my face. I sense some orchestral magic fleshed out in the background, and as Burton begins to sing with what can only be described as a howl-like scream, the song takes a slight turn and becomes strings-dominant with the occasional addition of bells. Burton’s voice has a certain rich quality that scratches an itch in my brain, and, on this track, it is enhanced by gospel choir melodies that can be heard primarily during the chorus. At minute 3.15, the bridge begins and triggers a slower tempo that carries over into the third verse. This production is more focused on light piano, but less than 50 seconds later, it all comes back together in a neat, yet exciting package. Every layer of this track can be heard in its last minute. After a few listens, niche production choices jump out, but I can never decide whether to focus on the gorgeous vocal delivery or what is going on in the background. Overall, Burton and Quesada along with producer John Congleton have created an atmosphere that I can only hope will continue on through the other 9 tracks to be released in late October.
Burton and Quesada tell a story on this song about ‘flying’ through life. Burton states in a press release that the track ‘is a message I borrowed from my Uncle Steve. As a songwriter and caregiver, he’d listen to me write songs from afar and, if I were lucky, he’d have a pointer or two for me’, which leads to the heart of the chorus, ‘life is more than a love song’. Uncle Steve is a wise man; life is more than fleeting romance, or daydreams and fantasies, so it’s best to realize the depth of life and to take it slow. In the music video, Burton does just this by showing a typical American suburban neighborhood and basking in a sense of community.
It must be exceedingly difficult to top a record that holds 6 Grammy Nominations to its name, one being the highly coveted ‘Album of the Year’ award, but ‘More Than a Love Song’ hints that this new record potentially deserves the same success.