The Very Best's "MTMTMK"
- Article by: Sean Maloney
- Posted: 07/17/2012
Ah, the 21st century – where sounds exotic and familiar are just a click away and are, more often than not, one and the same. It's a weird time, but for those with a taste for international tunes, it's a good one. For instance, I never thought I would say “Oh, I love this Malawi-UK collaboration, except when it sounds too Euro-House” with a straight face. But, lo and behold, in this era when international collaborations are the rule rather than the exception, I can split hairs on a ridiculous tip and it's accurate! This is a wonderful time to be alive.
A collaboration between Malawian producer-singer Esau Mwamwaya and UK producer Johan Hugo, The Very Best’s MTMTMK (7/17/12, Moshi Moshi) walks the line between South Eastern African pop instrumentation and big-room Euro-tronica; (cue “Rudeboy.”) And while it's not always a success – some of the more Top 40 leaning moments on songs like “Yoshua Alikuti” and “We OK” feel forced – it's an interesting proposition for the trans-global future of music.
While tracks like the opener “Adani,” the slow-and-low “Rumbae” and kalimba-driven “Come Alive” manage to capture the presiding energies of their influences, The Very Best's fusion experiments often seem overly calculated and as a result, fall a little flat. (After giving “I Wanna Go Away” a quick listen, it’s difficult to not wonder whether it was written by The Very Best or by some of the advertising executives for Sandals.) The album’s closer, “We OK” -- written by Bruno Mars and featuring guest vocals from K’naan -- lacks in authenticity, but its sunny call-and-response chorus will probably inspire teens far and wide to grab a Hi-C Cooler and jump in the pool all summer long.
That said MTMTMK still lays out a very convincing argument that The Very Best are a band to watch.