It’s been four years since producer/songwriter Taylor McFerrin released his excellent debut record Early Riser. In the age of streaming where music releases move at breakneck speeds, this feels like a significant amount of time. But McFerrin has been far from idle during this period.
Throughout this time he’s steadily toured, turning the heady arrangements of Early Riser into improvisational spectacles, crafting pieces on the spot, beatboxing, freestyling – allowing his full musical self to be displayed with whatever feels right at the moment. Oh, and if you weren’t sure of his bona fides, McFerrin also spent a stint touring with the supergroup R+R=Now – performing alongside Robert Glasper, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Derrick Hodge, Justin Tyson, and Terrace Martin.
With how far he’s stretched himself on stage, where he’d go next with his recorded material was anyone’s guess. Now we’re finally starting to see his exciting next steps with his upcoming sophomore record Love’s Last Chance, out Aug. 16. While Early Riser showcased McFerrin’s vocals occasionally with emphasis on his production wizardry, this new record is putting his voice front and center. We’ve heard a sample of this on lead single “Now That You Need Me” and now we’re hearing more of his decadent croons on “Memory Digital,” alongside songwriter and occasional Kendrick Lamar collaborator Anna Wise.
McFerrin’s hushed vocals intertwine with Wise’s blissful serenades. It’s a legitimate song of the summer contender, with a bouncing rhythm and enchanting hook that feels like it could loop endlessly in any rooftop party or sweating in traffic with the windows rolled down. And while McFerrin is establishing himself as a singer with this album, his beats remain top-notch. Funk, electronic, and R&B all swirl together effortlessly on McFerrin’s sonic canvas.
McFerrin shares his insights into the song’s creation below.
”‘Memory Digital’ is about looking back on old relationships that didn't work out, and now almost feel like they ever happened because the memories are all based on social media photos. Something about the lack of anything physical to hold onto can make memories slip away. It's becoming easier to ghost people these days because it's almost like you are just logging out of the relationship, which in some ways it makes it easier to move on. Although for some people it makes it harder to let go... It usually depends who ended it.
“When me and Anna Wise got together to write this song, I actually had a different instrumental ready for us to write to, but I played her this one and we wrote the initial hook in a few minutes. For me, when everything flows effortlessly, you know that it was meant to be. I really wanted a 2-step, Summer BBQ Anthem on this record, and If I ever hear this tune at a Block Party in Brooklyn, it will be all I need to feel like this album was worth the wait.”
Listen to “Memory Digital Below” and check out McFerrin’s KEXP in-studio from 2017 below.
At the Party with My Brown Friends will be out August 30th via Saddle Creek.
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