“Poems, dinner, chocolate.” That’s the answer LA’s hottest new soul trio gives to their choreographer when asked if they even know what love is. They sure are close, but what they failed to mention is a fourth, most powerful expression of love: this jam. “Ain’t Cool No More” is the first single from High Key – TJ, Zay, and Dre – and they’ve ditched current R&B’s double-entendres for Motown’s classic triple-threat: pipes, moves, and sincerity. They grew up on the Temptations, the Jackson 5, New Edition, and Mint Condition, and man, they do the legends proud. They met at the Fernando Pullum Performing Arts Center, a west coast hotbed of talent that’s seen its students go on to win Grammys, perform around the world, and share stages with icons too numerous to name. Expect the same from these three: they’re not just a boy band, they’re a force of nature
Funny how they can be so right about what true love is, and be so wrong about how cool it is. On the longing, soulful choruses, their Golden Age harmonies conjure up the giants of the genre as they sing: “Love ain’t cool no more / Said I wish it was the same / As it was back in those days / When love was cool…”
If heartfelt lyrics, perfect harmonizing and infectious passion are what it takes to make love cool, then love isn’t just on its way back, it’s already kicked down the door. “Ain’t Cool No More” takes catchy, classic soul and puts a contemporary Bruno Mars-y twist on it, layering modern synth riffs over vintage piano and string arrangements. It’s tempting to say that summertime is the right time for a refreshing track like this, but a great song that can take you back in the day after just a few bars is worthy of year-round rotation.
We open on our heros in the studio, and their choreographer is not feeling the energy in the room. They’re getting the steps down, but there’s no love to be found. She leaves them to rehearse, and, once they get their girls on videochat, they bring the love. In classic Motown form, they rock some killer matching outfits, and suddenly they’re moving like the stars they are. Their choreography is on point, and it’s clear that music is in their blood, and they’re owning the stage. So now that they’ve single-handedly made love cool again (no big deal), what’s next? Dre, Zay & TJ hope to “spread positivity, love, and show God within our music.” Oh, and while they’re at it, “sell out stadiums.” With this level of energy and excellence, there’s no doubt they’ll soon be giving some lucky headliners a run for their money in front of thousands.