Picture yourself sitting in an upscale piano bar somewhere downtown. There’s a low murmur as people are chatting amongst themselves when someone suddenly sits down at the piano to start playing. At first, the music is a perfect compliment to the classy bar’s atmosphere and you don’t pay it much attention other than to think “that sounds nice”. But eventually, the low murmurs stop and everyone is completely captivated by this mysterious stranger playing a song that just demands your attention. That’s pretty much the exact scene that played out in my head the first time I listened to Take it Down. Just gorgeous.
Ever since the sweet sounds of House of Balloons first touched my ears, my adoration of The Weeknd has been alive and well. I remember watching garbage quality phone-captured youtube videos of his first few concerts in Toronto, angry that I couldn’t find a way to get tickets myself, but blown away at how good his live performance was for a genre that is typically dominated by choreographed dancing and half-naked men (of which The Weeknd’s show featured none). When I finally managed to nab tickets to his second tour of Toronto it was no longer a small venue with bare production value, but instead one of the biggest venue’s that the city had to offer and more lights & effects than I think I’ve ever seen at a concert. He’s made the big time, and yet the quality is still there with his newer releases like Can’t Feel My Face.
Somehow in my hours upon hours of music listening every day, I missed discovering R I T U A L. Well, I have thankfully remedied that. Everyone of R I T U A L’s songs are brilliantly produced and come with a hazy, pulsing sound as well as gut-wrenching vocals.
#2. R I T U A L – Low Season
Not often I’ll have two songs from the same artist in one week’s post, but that’s what happens when I completely miss out on an artist as amazing as this. Low Season is actually the song that introduced me to R I T U A L, and barely edges out Amnesia as my favourite. That tempo though… it’s almost hypnotic.
This is one that you have to give a chance. At least, that was how it was for me. The first two or three listens didn’t do much, but I kept it around. I mean it was catchy, but nothing stuck out for me to really think “wow”. But then I kept playing it, and suddenly I just couldn’t get enough of that I dunno – “second chorus”? – that kicks in around 2:10. My god it’s brilliant. There is usually a moment in every song that I really like where it goes from “huh” to “PLAY IT AGAIN AHHHH”… and that’s the moment for this one.