As I listened to the transition between the beats in “Let’s Party,” the new single from none other than God-tier beat-makers Kool & the Gang, it occurred to me how important making a single of this variety that flows evenly really is. As a music critic, I’ve had the misfortune of having to cover a lot of artists who simply don’t know how to make a cohesive track, let alone an LP.
They’ve got the songwriting chops to make a hook, sometimes even enough material to put together a decent strand of verses, but when it comes to getting into the studio and grinding out a complete single without employing previously used formulas, adding filler and glossing over the cheaper corners can be a next to impossible task for them. Why is relatively simple: it comes down to songwriting maturity, depth of artistry, and where an artist puts their own aesthetical limits. The intro gets the chills going right out of the gate before handing us over to the rage of a muted grove, and while its explosive entrance is jarring, the beat ahead of us doesn’t feel out of place or choppy next to what we’ve just listened to. We aren’t in a hurry, but we aren’t dragging from one groove to the next.
What makes “Let’s Party” such a good track isn’t just the way that Kool & the Gang can grab and keep our attention over the course of its playing time, but instead has a lot to do with the multidimensionality of the arrangement on its own. For me, I think that the fact that the band made such a committed effort to not go cheap by singing about just the indulgences of life but instead taking a more reflective, almost observational route in constructing its thematic elements is what sets this track apart from anything that their contemporaries are doing right now. In a dazzling demonstration of their skills as a group, they remind us that there is nothing wrong with cutting loose and adding a little spice to the mundane, even if it’s a little more impulsive than what we’re used to.
With a combination of simple, unrelentingly straightforward lyrics that are inviting along with music that is irresistibly enthralling and easy to get into no matter what your age or personal taste in genres or tempo, Kool & the Gang seems to have contained all of the necessary ingredients to make their new single “Let’s Party” an absolute classic that can stand up beside some of the best works in their catalog. I don’t think I was expecting this to be the song that changed my perspective about the future of R&B or the past this band is known for, and it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel (after all, these guys pretty much carved it out in the first place). If they keep making tracks that are as complete and exciting as this one in the future, Kool and company are going to stay relevant for a very long time to come.