“Neptune” – Lemonade [stream]
“Neptune” is the type of sleek, slow-motion, electronics-heavy dance music made by bands that music writers and/or record labels seem to need to employ three or four different over-specialized genres to begin to describe. Lemonade’s record company, for instance, goes with: “90’s R&B, UK 2-step Garage, Balearic house, and NY freestyle.” Come on, people. Is it that tricky? This surely sounds like a Portlandia sketch waiting to happen.
Let me simplify this and say that “Neptune” is conclusive proof that electronic music can have both heart and soul. Informed by old-school R&B and filtered through a seamless 21st-century aesthetic, the song appeals not for the number of obscure genres it can claim to embody but for the lustrous sheen of its aural landscape, its canny array of percussive sounds (both organic and electronic), and its unremarkable but affecting portrayal of a heart being broken. Yeah, it’s just a guy trying to talk to the girl, “to sort this out.” And then when she finally calls him she’s at a party and he can’t even hear her. Ouch. Hung upon an unrelenting four-note synthesizer riff and the tender vocals of front man Callan Clendenin, “Neptune” is as welcoming as you want it to be—chilly background music if you’re not paying attention, a swaying, bittersweet lament if you fall into it. The central moment, to me, is the line on which the chorus fades off (1:20): “And this really won’t do/No, no,” with those despairing melismas each time on the word “no” (a melisma is when the singer extends one syllable through multiple musical notes). Note how the second one ends conclusively rather than in an unresolved place. This is probably a bad sign for our narrator.
“Neptune” is the first song made available from Lemonade’s second album, Diver, to be released in May on True Panther Sounds.
MP3 via True Panther. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up. [MP3 no longer available; above link is for the stream.]