Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Mary Mary – Walking

And here is part two…


Chuck Eddy: Get-knocked-down-but-I-get-up-again pedestrian rock (as in, a song about walking –specifically, one that argues that running’s not as good–with a rhythm that sounds like walking), built atop boogie woogie keyboards out of early house music, under harmonies that feel more like soul music than any secular chart r&b in years. Well, they called it “soul” for a reason, I guess. Anyway, after a couple listens several months ago, this song was so indelibly embedded in my memory banks that, when I hear it now, I feel like I’ve known it forever. Probably my favorite single of the year, so far. And it sounds so effortless that I feel negligent for not having investigated Mary Mary further — Nothing else on their new album comes close, but as for their past, I’m clueless.

Michaelangelo Matos: Did this get left off the Boomerang soundtrack? It’s got scratches on it, praise Jesus.

Jonathan Bogart: I mean, I know Christian music is always ten years behind the curve. Lucky for them, then, that it’s been a good ten years.

Anthony Easton: Apparently, according to the Youtube comments, some controversy about the religious aspect of this video/song, but have almost no energy to handle it.

Jer Fairall: Walking as a metaphor for…resilience? Stopping to smell the roses? Hangin’ with Jesus? If you’re gonna construct your song around a platitudinal cliche, at least pick one and go with it.

Josh Langhoff: It’s about their Christian Walk and resisting the dominant culture, but it’s also a good song for literal walking — energetic mid-tempo, beautiful four-chord pattern that never resolves, good clear voices that are encouraging without making outlandish promises. Given the right weather, there are few more pleasurable activities than a humble walk. And on Mary Mary’s pretty good album Something Big, there are few more pleasurable songs than this humble centerpiece.

Martin Skidmore: I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that a gospel duo sounds very like R&B from several years ago – gospel’s always lagged a step or two behind other soulful black vocal genres. It’s pleasant enough, well sung and quite bright and lively, but it’s also entirely lightweight.

Alfred Soto: The double Marys boast real advantages: they evoke late nineties Mary J. Blige yet project a less terrestial vibe. The production is purest late nineties Babyface too. I wish they gave me something I can feel — between my fingers, that is. They’ve got my heart already.

Edward Okulicz: You could tell me this was actually the follow-up to their 2000 hit “Shackles (Praise You)” and I’d not only believe you, but be a little disappointed I didn’t get to hear it back then. It has absolutely no friction to speak of but that doesn’t mean it’s not a breezy couple of minutes of pleasure.

6 Responses to “Mary Mary – Walking”

  1. Damn, missed this one — quite like it (ha Boomerang). Jonathan, the ten year curve thing is true of a lot of Xtian music I think, but at the same time the stuff that doesn’t feel ten years behind is often really surprising (like “God in Me,” say, or Krystal Meyers’s “Beautiful Tonight”). Makes me wish I took more time to pay attention to that world.

  2. No one’s bothered by the fact that this is indistinguishable from T.I.’s Muzaky ’06 hit, ‘Why You Wanna’? Same sample, of course, but they’ve also done the same exact thing with it.

  3. Well, no, because they sing transcendently over it and he raps tediously over it. (Actually, though, I wasn’t bothered at first mainly because I had no memory of hearing T.I.’s track until just this minute. If I heard it in ’06, it left no impression, which is very possible, since this time I quit it about halfway in. But yeah, the samples are similar. Doesn’t stop this from being a great record.)

  4. “Ten years behind the curve” is excessive, I think — even the most boring Christian AC crap is now ripping off Tedder beats, which are only five years old, right? But even if “Walking” DOES sound anachronistic in the context of R&B or gospel radio, which I don’t think it does enough to stick out, the anachronism fits the song’s message of not rushing to keep up with the World. I don’t follow CCM like I should, but I’ve been paying more attention in the past year, and when it surprises me, which happens more than I’d expected, it’s usually because the musicians are swiping sounds they love to express those aspects of their faith that fit the sounds. Like that Tye Tribbett song. And that’s probably where most of my secular music surprises come from, too; Brand New Sounds aren’t as common as People Using Found Sounds In Unexpected Ways.

  5. Also, the second single off Something Big, “Something Bigger”, sounds much more au courant. Their main producer is Warryn Campbell, who’s married to Erica-the-elder-Mary and has a pretty long secular R&B resume. Here’s my review of the album, which I’m ashamed to say barely mentions “Walking”. I think I underrated the whole thing, in fact, because I realized yesterday how much I love hearing their voices, just for the sake of pure sonic beauty.

  6. This is in heavy rotation on a number of radio stations here in the Chi. Like Chuck, I think the song is so smooth and effortless and seemingly uneventful that it’s difficult to tell what an excellent example of craftsmanship it is. But it certainly is that. High 8 or low 9, even, but it’s not the single of the year, though it’s definitely in the top 10.