One of the less talked-about performances at the 2015 American Music Awards this past weekend was that of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and an upcoming soul singer by the name Leon Bridges. Maybe it was the concept of the song that took folks by surprise; after all it was a brand new song that had received nothing of the kind of airplay the songs Justin Bieber performed have. Ariana Grande’s passionate delivery of ‘Focus’, Jennifer Lopez’ dance-heavy set and the lip-lock that ended Meghan Trainor and Charlie Puth’s joint performance hogged the headlines. But anyone who paid keen attention to the song Macklemore & Ryan Lewis debuted would have realized what a special moment it was.
If you didn’t, don’t fret, we’ve got you. You can stream the recorded version of the song below and play it one or two more times until the deftness of its execution and the gravity of its message hit home. When the track starts with a funky bassline and drums, you think you’re in for a dance number like ‘Downtown’ which the hip hop duo released earlier in the year. But a rather morose keyboard drops in and when Macklemore starts, “I’ve seen pain, I’ve felt the losses, attending funerals…” you know you’re in for a moment of introspection rather than a party. However you won’t be complaining as you listen to Mac artistically tear into the subject of prescription drug abuse using the fictional character Kevin. The hook is beautifully and sorrowfully delivered by Bridges in his bluesy baritone and the choral backing vocals give the song a spiritual slant. It is both an indictment to America and a wake up call to a national problem.
Miami Based, Internationally Known