Najjah Calibur’s “Celebrate”

Big beats, when they’re larger than life, can conjure up scenes we’ve either already played out in our heads before they’ve happened or ones we’ve witnessed in film or on stage with an especially strong chills factor, and this is perhaps the strongest motif of the music video for Najjah Calibur’s “Celebrate”. From Calibur’s perspective, as it’s presented to the audience here, there’s a reticence to admit we’re in the midst of a surreal moment that could be one of immense catharsis if we give into the temptation teased by the groove, and it’s this hesitation that makes the emotional energy behind the lyrics – and the melodies framing them – so hard for a critic like myself to resist.  

As powerfully theatrical as the music video for “Celebrate” looks and feels, the actual song is the undisputed draw of the release more than anything else ever could be. The rhythm is intoxicatingly rounded as if to make the beats feel more buoyant beside the weighty vocal delivery from Calibur.

The harmony isn’t synthetic despite all of the ingredients it exploits, but there are a couple of seconds here and there that feel so ethereal that it’s hard to believe he isn’t utilizing a plasticized element in the master mix. There’s a seamlessness to the arrangement that hasn’t stopped turning me on since first acquiring this single, and whether you’re an audiophile or not, its appeal translates as poppy and almost radio-ready without sacrificing any of its independent identity.

There’s still a lot that Najjah Calibur is unpacking in his sound, as evidenced by the extremely experimental tone of his last two singles, but if you ask me, this is exactly the direction he needs to be taking with his career right now. “Celebrate” is neither monolithic nor minuscule, but instead a flexible, versatile composition that sees its creator moving aesthetically and professionally away from the constrictions associated with being a part of a scene or movement within international music today.  

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