Me Soul Be Flowin – “Amethyst” / “Portal” – Singles Review
Demand the full release of season four!
And let that be a lesson to the rest of y’all out there too – I’m with it, I’m paying attention – if you make a jump from season three to season five, YES, I’m gonna notice! I’m not at all sure how it happened, and with my OCD-like nature of needing symmetry & organized files & all that…yaaaa you better believe I see the things that aren’t there too. Technically…there is ONE file out there I can see from the fourth season…but you’ll find it listed after the fifth season online…and ultimately, it’s a really important episode in the Me Soul Be Flowin podcast with artist Navè – if you wanna understand the journey that she’s on, it’s actually a really crucial show to catch to fully grasp how she’s battled her own anxiety and found the way to what she’s been doing now over the course of this year. When we first checked out what she was up to – I had an idea of what she was doing…but it’s these kind of details that help paint the picture of the full story. In fact, she’ll tell ya in that same hidden season four episode direct that the order of things in this universe don’t matter to Navè – if she feels like running before she can walk, she will – if she feels like she can learn something advanced before the beginning steps, she will – and hence, if she feels like season four is gonna come after season five, who would I be to try & tell her no?
Go on sister, be beautiful! Do what you do Navè – and keep on doin’ it.
Ultimately, that season four episode is probably a bit more crucial than you’d think. Not only does it provide a ton of insight into who Navè is and give you another stellar dose of her sunshine personality, but if you were to just move onto season five – you might be wondering where the ‘show’ part of her ‘show’ went to…because that part has gone MIA for the moment and it’s been replaced with short cuts. In fact, you’d find that the longest episode out there in season five to-date is still under four minutes in length – she’s focused on her music right now and writing lyrics & whatnot…I ain’t opposed to that of course, but I’d be lyin’ to ya by omission if I didn’t say that her personality & intros were a large part of what had me personally engaged too. Like if I’m being real for you, that’s how I ended up tracking down the single episode from season four that’s out there – I had a listen to these two songs I’ve got here, both “Portal” and “Amethyst,” and my first thoughts were like…’alright, cool – but where did Navè go?’ So I tracked down that missing episode and got myself a dose of her storytelling as well, just because.
I suppose the reason why that is, is that I’m personally invested in finding out where all this adventure in podcasting & music will take this delightfully quirky personality out there in the world in the future to come. Last time around, she had her guitar and she was just starting to step into the songwriting realm – this time, she’s workin’ with them BEATS y’all…and for sure, I was curious as to how that would turn out for her. Here’s a fun fact for ya that you might not know yourselves – back when I was still an active artist (which, sure…technically I’ll still consider myself to be on a good day, but I’ve been dormant) – I used to do what she’s doing ALL the time – I actually think it was one of the most important steps that I ever took as a self-taught musician & singer. It traces all the way back in fact, right to my birthday in 1994 when the Jar Of Flies EP came out by Alice In Chains in the middle of the Grunge heyday. If you’re familiar with that record, you’ll know there was an instrumental song in that set of seven that is entirely gorgeous & full of beautifully dramatic vibes…it’s called “Whale & Wasp.” Believe it or not, that was actually the first song I ever wrote any lyrics to – and I can still hear them in my head to this very day, which is now something like, more than twenty-five years after when that would have happened long ago. But an instrumental song? On a GRUNGE album? I felt like that was a situation that had to be rectified…it seemed so totally out of place at the time…but it also seemed like an opportunity somehow.
And so like Navè here on her latest material, I started to stretch my wings and find out what I was capable of. It turned out I loved the challenge, the journey, the process…the opportunity to see where I could fit in in whatever way I could. Would I say that I wrote a hit song that first time out? Of course not – but it was so important in my evolution as an artist and my development as a songwriter – each blank instrumental sonic tapestry in front of you singers gives you that very same opportunity. I still do what Navè is doing now to this very day in behind the scenes…I don’t tend to release that stuff myself, because at the end of the day I’m usually borrowing instrumental songs that are done by mainstream acts I know and love that have teams of lawyers that would no doubt come right after me for pilfering their music – but in the background, you bet – I spend a lot of time writing lyrics to instrumentals and seeing what it is that I can do in any kind of style or sound that might come my way. As for Navè and so many of you out there…there are plenty of options at your disposal from free beats online to independent artists looking to collaborate & whatnot…that’ll get your music & what you do out there. Me? I was fine with keeping this part of my music secret, as my own way to learn & hone into my craft; I don’t really write a whole lot of tunes for the masses…it’s always just be something I’ve done for me.
Navè has been much more fearless in that sense – she’s been sharing her whole process of becoming an artist with you all online through her Me Soul Be Flowin podcast – and I think that’s a brilliant way to connect to & inspire a whole bunch of people out there. She’s literally been learning out loud, in front of you all – and if you don’t think that takes a metric TON of artistic integrity & courage, you’re crazy. Pass or fail in the court of public opinion aside – she should be fully proud of what she’s accomplished already, knowing that she’s created a special memory that’ll last her a lifetime, and documents this artistically-inspired time of her life like nothing else really could. And let’s be real here – bands exist for a reason…making music from the ground-up is extremely hard…taking the pressure of herself in that aspect proves to pay off immediately for Navè’s songwriting and there’s no way you could miss it in between what we’d experienced the last time out – this is real progress and evolution in her artistic expression. I started out with listening to “Amethyst” and instantly found myself listening to a verifiably strong hook in the melody Navè was rockin’ – sure, it’d likely be one of those fringe cuts you find in an awesome independent film out there perhaps, but there are still undeniable strengths in what she’s written into this tune that prove she’s got the right ideas & an endearing charm that people will latch onto for sure. What I hear here, is where it begins…but this is indeed the right path forward; just like that tale I had told you earlier, the vocals & melody I’d patterned for that first instrumental song I’d sung to, was designed to flow completely in tandem with what was happening in the music – and “Amethyst” is like that as well. You’ll hear the moves in the music being made have Navè echoing the melody you’ll find there…and while that’s definitely one way to approach it and a great place to start – that next phase of her evolution will go on to likely become being less reliant on what exists, and bringing that decisively new dimension to it through what she adds in with her vocals. Make sense? At the moment, it’s more like “Amethyst” is her harmonizing with the existing melody if you’re following me – again, it ain’t a bad way to approach this music thing at all – a great many of the songs you love & know inside & out by heart are the result of a perfect pairing between the sound & the singing. It’s a very natural way for singer/songwriters to do what they do – and it can also be the hardest habit to break out of as well. I probably ended up liking “Amethyst” just ten percent more than I did “Portal” myself, and it’s likely because that match between the music & vocal melody work so well in tandem with each other – but when it comes to what Navè does, her performance, and her songwriting – I felt like the latter tune brought more out of her. “Portal” doesn’t just have her writing words – this time, she’s really written the vocal melody as well. There are points where it’s similar to “Amethyst” in that sense where it’ll follow the melody of the music, but there is more space in “Portal” that Navè is responsible for filling in herself…you get to hear her less reliant on what’s already happening, and giving this beat she’s working with a whole new dimension to it – you still with me? Like I said – neither approach is right or wrong, or any kind of ticket to the ultimate answer – music is fluid & flexible…it’s about being willing, able, and ready to follow its every twist & turn, and going where it takes you, in the moment. Navè gets this at the heart of it all…and as a result she brings out what’s easily the best I’ve heard from her so far when it comes to the music she’s making in between the strengths of both of these tunes. She’s on the right path…and every step she’s taking becomes stronger…as an artist, to me, that’s all we could ever ask for. You can audibly hear how less pressure on having to sing and play at the same time allows her to get a much more confident performance out of her vocals on both of these songs from Me Soul Be Flowin & Navè has chosen wisely when it comes to the music she’s workin’ with.
Somewhere in between these worlds that Navè is livin’ in…there’s a balance that’ll be discovered that really works. Like I said from the get-go here – I missed the story a lil’ bit this time around…the personality, and the wild banter of her thoughts that came along with the songs I reviewed the last time out…and that’s something to consider. Perhaps that balance is achieved in bridging the gap there, and relaying what these songs are about, or the story behind them, or even the new challenges she faced in writing them or recording them – it could be anything of course…but that’s been a large part of what’s pulled me into Navè’s world too; beyond the music, she’s on quite the evolutionary journey within herself…each song is a new chapter in that adventure, but behind every song, is also a story…I feel like she could benefit by including both…I think it adds that extra-personal touch that makes us wanna cheer for her as she breaks ground or achieves something new along the way. But at the same time, I get it – music isn’t always best when accompanied by someone talking, no matter who it is – sometimes you just wanna listen, and she does in fact have songs here that have no problem standing on their own as well. She learns out loud, I review out loud – we’re one & the same, I’m just spitballin’ ideas here…but maybe I’d go with something like her Spotify channel featuring the songs themselves, and then an expanded version with the story of the song for YouTube, maybe or maybe-not in a separate video right before it, I dunno…but keep experimenting with it all Navè…I know I enjoy what you have to say & I’m sure others will/do too. As it stands, I think both these songs are really significant steps in the right direction for her as a songwriter & lyricist…leaps & bounds from the last time I reviewed her if I’m being entirely honest with ya…and I think that with her dedication, passion, and genuine desire to do what she’s doing right now between her music & podcast, we’re quite likely to find that every time Navè is up to something new, it’ll reveal that continual evolution as she makes her way forward. The bottom line is, you can hear she’s happy to be doing all that she does…and regardless of anything else, that matters most – she loves the process, she loves the journey, and she loves to communicate – no reason I can think of to not keep all that fun goin’ long and strong into the future, and I’m confident that she will.
Have a listen to Me Soul Be Flowin at Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5QFPBN9SgcRNod7N6RjNAP
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