by David Haynes
As a musician myself, it’s always amazing to hear a song that feels so far beyond my skill level. It inspires me to be a better player. We the People’s “Worst Nights” is one of those songs.
We the People is a genre-defying quartet comprised of keyboardist Eddie Moore, bassist/producer Jason Emmond, drummer Zach Morrow, and turntablist/producer Kethro. Together, they sift through American music of the last 20th century and gather all of their influences into incredible R&B masterpieces. The group describes their music as an “Urban gumbo,” and their new single “Worst Nights” is no exception.
Rhythmically, the song is complex. It moves in and out of time signatures with ease and without ever losing it’s flow. We the People make it seem effortless, but the Not only does the song blend rhythms, but it also combines a number of genres and influences. The spoken word intro is reminiscent of modern R&B artists like Frank Ocean. The synth solo is incredible and sounds inspired by Bernie Worrell’s work in Parliament. The hi-hat triplets and bright snares are yanked from trap music, while still feeling organic and human. With all of its polyrhythms and 7th chords, “Worst Nights” also feels like the grandchild (or, perhaps great grandchild) of jazz. It’s incredible to hear and pick out so many years of influence in one three-and-a-half-minute track, which just shows that the members of We the People are truly masterful writers.
Throughout the song, there are these breaks where the music stops for a moment. The air feels suspended. It’s meant to simulate the feeling of drifting. Speaking on the track’s meaning, Eddie Moore says, “Tuning cars and drifting was my personal outlet to get over dark periods. So, we wanted to capture roaring drive through the mountains into the city.” The footage in the music fits perfectly alongside the grooves in the song, with the car drifting in slow motion during these gaps in the music.
We the People has already been involved with artists such as Erykah Badu, Curly Martin, and Robert Glasper. They are here to stay, and their style-bending musical innovation will have a lasting effect on modern pop music. Do yourself a favor, and watch the video for “Worst Nights” below. You won’t regret it!