The slice of sunshine we all needed.
This has not been a good year. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this sentiment understandably scrawled across my Twitter feed, the result of some person, somewhere, struggling to wrap their head around a world that has been careering into one car crash after another. Here in the UK, the government has made so many glaring blunders that each one seems to shake the Etch A Sketch of 2020, obscuring each mistake with a brand new one, over and over. You’d go completely insane trying to remember it all.
Some warmth is becoming a necessity at this point, and ‘Joyride’, the debut single from South-East London based artist Marie Bashiru, is the slice of warmth we all needed. The Common Language signee has conjured up a track that brings you on a journey with her, tearing through coldness and taking you on the "straight and narrow" of a newly realised path. The musical aspects of her West African influences are instantly evident, and her voice is beautifully soulful and honeyed, trickling through a stunning riff that flows intermittently with tambourines to form a delightful mass of percussion, on a track that is sonically rich and packed with vibrancy.
The ride Marie takes us on is optimistic, a journey that elucidates sweetness, companionship and earthliness. It's expansive but remains grounded, as the notion of a new beginning exists with the admission that it also “feels a little difficult”. The power of the track is found by wrapping this uncertainty in the warm image of allowing the "colours of life to run wild", a sentiment backed by the comfort of the repeated assertion that “we’ll be alright”. As the mix becomes richer and fuller Marie’s voice works as the epicentre, remaining consistently pertinent, shifting gloriously into images of skies changing and clouds forming in rearranged symbols of newfound possibility [1:45]. She offers you her hand and you can be forgiven for feeling that you can reach out and grasp it.
‘Joyride’ is an antidote to struggle, centring a feeling of community and occasion at it's core, with the touching closeness of someone "being with you". The track ends with a slightly distorted sound of laughter and a few cheers, and given it was recorded directly after the first lockdown when the musicians hadn't been in a studio together for months, it's easy to see how they got this feeling across. It’s a sentiment of companionship working to directly contrast a society that is underlined by isolation. The ability to perfectly drive this feeling home is a testament to an artist with the talent to fully realise a vision. It's a track that draws from the extensive history of songs rooted in struggle, with the message that everyone can find some comfort in a slice of something, somewhere.
Marie Bashiru has delivered the perfect anthem in a moment we all are struggling to comprehend, shedding a small piece of light to illuminate our day. 'Joyride' provides a few minutes of clarity in a world that has, at many points, seemed so dark.
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This article was written and edited by Fin Cousins, a literature student studying at Kings College, London. He loves sport, music and writing and he is still waiting for Love Island to accept his application. He also made our logo.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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