Zronimo – “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” / “Funk Avenue”

 Zronimo – “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” / “Funk Avenue”

Zronimo – “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” / “Funk Avenue” – Singles Review

Well now we’re just gettin’ all kinds of meta…

Knowing that Zronimo is out there, currently getting his first MOVIE goin’ on, you can’t help but notice the cinematic tie-in with the extended intro that leads into “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong).”  It’s the kind of thing that’s probably gonna play a little better onscreen than it is relevant for the song we’re listening to on its own, but I don’t have any massive objections other than it holds up the process of me getting to the meat of a really great song to follow.  Big deal…I can wait a minute, it’s cool.  At seven and a half minutes in length, there’s no doubt that “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” becomes a true commitment in the modern-day era…but I have the feeling most listeners will genuinely enjoy spending a bit of time with this tune.  Zronimo gives a breathtaking performance to this tune, and right from the get-go.  In fact, and I mean this in the best of ways, he’s pretty much sexless as it starts…as in, most folks out there probably wouldn’t even be 100% certain about whether or not they’re listening to a guy or a girl in that same way Prince or Michael Jackson have been able to pull off so convincingly in the past.  I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s an undeniable indication of some seriously spectacular vocals, range, and capability when it comes right down to it, and I know that Zronimo himself would recognize this comment as the compliment that it’s meant to be.  I mean…c’mon…think of the average dude you know – do you really think they could pull off a singing voice that could be so magnificently delicate, bold, and beautiful that you’d mistake it for a woman for a moment or two?  Probably not I’m guessing.  As “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” continues on, it becomes more apparent that it’s the man himself, Zronimo…but let’s be clear here – some of those high notes he’s hitting are straight-up amazing.  I’ve long maintained this is one of the most underrated & talented artists out there in the independent scene today, and listening to him sing this song felt like even more justification to support why I feel that way about him.  Dude’s superhuman when it comes right down to it…not only is he an incredible singer, but listen to the songwriting of a single like “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” too will ya?  The hooks are absolutely stunning…you can’t help but feel the mix of emotion, sincerity, and star-power he brings to the way he sings, and overall, there’s simply no denying how gorgeous this song genuinely IS.  What surprised me the most perhaps, was that for a song that’s seven and a half minutes long, we don’t really feel that whatsoever…like…it’s one of those moments in music you just wanna curl up in forever, you dig?  I’ll be real with ya in the sense that I could take or leave the psychedelic intro, but I’d imagine that its purpose will likely become clearer when it comes time to see the Zronimo movie; when it comes to the rest of the song, he’s performing at an all-star level once again.  Production-wise, I’ve got back and forth on this track a few times…there’s a part of me that enjoys what’s actually a bit of a throwback sound…like, “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” actually sounds a lot like what you’d find on the old Prince records from back in the day, which would have been state of the art in its technical aspects at the time.  In the modern-day era…I dunno…I had moments where I felt like the compression on this cut was a bit invasive & that there might be more of an opportunity for this single-worthy track to breathe.  In any event, on the grand scale of things, it’s the most minimal observation I can provide ya with – the truth is, if this is how I get “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” then I’m absolutely taking it as is without complaints.  Zronimo has created an outstanding song here, one of the very best in his catalog to-date…it’s as beautiful as beautiful can be, and he deserves additional points for gettin’ the sweet sounds of the ol’ saxophone into the mix of this track for you to enjoy as well.

Now…as I’ve alluded to in the past reviews of this dude’s music, I’ve actually been listening to Zronimo for longer than Zronimo has been around for…and many of these tunes that I’m hearing now under this current moniker are tracks I’ve heard in various other versions before he was going by that name.  For the most part, I’ve had no problem at all getting behind the updated variations without hesitation – but in the case of “Funk Avenue,” this was the first time I could recall where I questioned the latest version.  Most of the time, there has been a clear upgrade to Zronimo’s songs that encompasses the justification as to why you’d wanna redo something all over again…as in, he’s been turning good material into great material – but with “Funk Avenue,” I wasn’t honestly so sure.  In some ways, notably in the production and in the confidence of his performance, I can absolutely agree that this new version of “Funk Avenue” is an undeniable upgrade.  On a structural level, or with regards to what the real hooks were in this song in the previous ways that I heard it, I was a lot less convinced that the changes he made moved the material forward.  I don’t know that I’d go as far as to say that what he’s done sent the song backwards, but it’s a much more lateral move than anything I’d argue moves it forward.  Before y’all get on me for being a critic that’s too critical – understand that it’s NOT ALL MY FAULT for feeling this way!  The reality is, when this track was originally made by Zronimo-not-Zronimo back in the day, he already knocked this track outta the park into the next millennium…to the point where it would have really been tougher to make it any better than it already was.  There’s a livelier punch to the mix and more depth that you can hear in the production now – and I LOVE that…but as for the rest, I feel like he might have accidentally watered down a bit of what made this track stand out as much as it once did.  Which would bring me back full circle to a point I’ve been making with this dude behind the scenes for a long time now…we can spend our entire lives creating ONE song, or we can keep things moving on into the future by continually doing something new.  There’s no right or wrong method, only personal preference…but I’d be the first to tell ya that this latest version of “Funk Avenue” is somewhat proof that just because it’s newer doesn’t automatically equate to things being better.  As far as the man’s gravitational pull is concerned, he exhibits that remarkable star-power without question…dude is a legend in the making as far as my ears can tell, and even though I might not be as jazzed about this latest version of “Funk Avenue,” Zronimo himself remains one of the most enticing talents you’ll ever hear coming outta your speakers.  It’s still a high quality cut, don’t get me wrong…and for the updated production alone, he’s supplied a verifiable reason for this version’s existence – just be careful to not lose sight of what really made it a great song in the first place and even more cautious to not dilute the real strength of a single’s potency.

Interesting selections between these newest cuts…right now I’d tell ya that “Stay (With Me Is Where You Belong)” is the better of the two tunes for the writing and hooks, and that “Funk Avenue” is probably stronger for its modern-day appeal and sparkling production values.  So they each need a bit of what the other song has, but even in that instance, Zronimo’s tunes are quite likely to be far superior than the majority of what people have on their playlist right at this very moment, and always worth listening to.  Dude’s got a whole lot on the go right now with that movie he’s making coming together, which is awesome to hear, of course – but don’t let the excitement take away the objectivity required to be at your best in all that you do from sight to sound…attention to detail is key, and it’s always tough to be your own critic…but no worries, I got you…that’s where I come in.

Hear more music by Zronimo at Spotify here:  https://open.spotify.com/artist/4dWKe5SHC1XhmF1859zjTH

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