What is Good “Soca” Music?
So I heard this song on the radio by Tian Winter, “Body Up” for the first time this season, for the upcoming Antigua Carnival, another Caribbean summer Carnival around the same time as Crop Over:
The first thing that occurred to me: GREAT SONG. It might be for Antigua Carnival, but I really hope they play this at all the fetes for Crop Over and on the road Kadooment Day, cause I envision some serious bacchanal and vibes going down whenever it plays.
The second thing that occurred to me: apart from Winter’s strong Antiguan twang, it would not have surprised me in the least if this song had come out of Trinidad & Tobago. As it turns out, it was produced and written by Trinidadians. No coincidence there.
Before that, I had already heard what is, for the moment, my favourite song for Crop Over (there are close to 3 months to go, so that title may be short-lived, especially with most of the industry heavy hitters still to release). This is Inches with “Slow Wine”:
This song was produced and written by pure homegrown talent. But what is undeniable is the similarity in grooviness and also the focus on synthesizer-based production. The rhythm in “Slow Wine” is, counter-intuitive to its name, not that slow at all and that is fitting, because Barbados is known for pace when throwing waist.
There is an argument to be made that, rhythms and accents aside, both of these songs are more pop than soca, but that is a topic for another day.
Groovy Tunes or Bashment?
In my view, Crop Over is still very much in the process of establishing a musical identity. I say this because when it comes to Crop Over music, the results can be very much hit or miss, as most of our artists are part-timers who view Soca music as the opportunity to make a few dollars during the summer.
The past few years have been “bashment soca” years – that is to say, little melody, a lot of pace and an emphasis on getting a crowd “hype” quickly. But I feel a real longing for the groovy tunes I heard in Trinidad earlier this year and Inches’ song “Slow Wine” shows that artists, if they put their minds to it, can make that kind of music without completely losing the identity of the mother country.
Granted, regardless of whether I hear “Slow Wine”, “Body Up” or this song, “Action” by Super Jigga TC (personal favourite from Trinidad Carnival 2012)…
…I will behave in a disgusting manner to all because (1) I have no behaviour, and (2) in my humble opinion, good music is good music, wherever it comes from and whatever it sounds like.
So tell me – what are YOU looking forward to hearing for Crop Over? More to come….
Thanks to blackeyedasian for the cover art.