Okele Okereke has lived many musical lives. In his early 20s he was the frontman of indie rock band Bloc Celebration; as he neared 30, he transitioned right into a lo-fi dance producer with solo information The Boxer and Trick. At 35, he grew to become a father and opened his coronary heart on the people LP Fatherland. This yr, he even wrote a musical, Go away to Stay, which advocated for equal marriage in opposition to a backdrop of dance music and west African excessive life. On 2042, his fourth solo file, he goes some strategy to combining all his personas in a single place for the primary time, fusing genres as he spans themes which are each intimate and common.
So named to reference the yr that census information predicts ethnic minorities will turn out to be the bulk within the US, 2042 is probably Okereke’s most straight political work to this point. There are references to Colin Kaepernick and Grenfell – the latter on the surging, growling standout monitor Let England Burn. However with 16 tracks of disparate genres and themes, the album feels disjointed at instances. Catching Emotions, with its breathy falsetto and romantic guitar riff, is a disarmingly pretty track about being commitment-phobic – and after it fades out, the listener is plunged straight into David Lammy’s well-known speech on the Windrush scandal.
It’s undoubtedly a deliberate, albeit jarring, option to dovetail the political with the private this fashion, mirroring the fixed onslaught of stories and updates that we face within the digital age. Okereke additionally doesn’t enable the listener to overlook that for a lot of, the political is private. Reasonably than separate the 2, he searches for moments of tenderness within the chaos. Therefore, Pure Hair, a neo-soul track about two black boys in love; the glam rock-influenced meditation on loss of life that’s Between Me and My Maker; and the light ballad Ceiling Video games, which recreates a love scene from a Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel. These are the snatched glimpses of humanity that pierce by means of a loud file with love and lightweight.