Isolated within the frames we see on the screen, taking us through the day and night with a carefully-arranged whisper of the most melodic variety I’ve heard in her scene recently, Gbeke is approachable almost to a fault in the music video for her new single “Top Priority,” which is currently out and raising plenty of curious eyebrows at home and abroad this autumn.
A work of surreal soul minimalism that stops short of the barren, black-and-white conceptualism seeping its way into the new progressive R&B movement in the United States, “Top Priority” gives us Gbeke without anything to come between her artistry and the audience, and whether we’re listening to the song or taking it in beside the visual offering created in support of its release, its moving tonality and the poise of its singer will affect anyone within earshot of its verses.
There’s so much fragility to Gbeke’s vocal in this performance that there are moments in which it feels as though she’s singing directly to one person and one person alone. She’s reaching out, through the speakers and into the room around us, clawing at the shadows of mundanity that seem to envelop those at their most depraved of moments these days – and, from my account, there are many among us in the pop scene to put it quite mildly. Her execution is confident, but the message is a little too fluid to sound like a conventional pop template, which on its own is quite remarkable. I would never question whether or not she has something invested here; even to the untrained ear, this is abundantly obvious.
Reflective and steeped in a sobering sonic physicality that I would like to hear her exploit just a little more than she already has in this instance, Gbeke’s new single and music video in “Top Priority” should be regarded as required listening for indie pop fans everywhere this fall. Gbeke isn’t playing a part here – her heart is on her sleeve and sewn into the very soul of these harmonies, which is more than can be said for a number of artists this October.