On paper, there isn’t a lot of commonality between electronica and R&B, but in practice, these two genres can form some incredible hybrid tracks – especially with the right artists breathing vitality into the beats. RM47 might be a relatively unknown act on the mainstream level, but in their new single “Strangers,” they’re melding the aesthetical qualities of electronic pop and alternative R&B in the name of making a clandestinely hypnotic super-song. Both stylistically and sonically this is a track that pushes the envelope as far as it can, but from where I sit, it’s the kind of dynamic experiment this season needed more than any other.
Contrast is of pivotal importance to the concept here, but RM47 isn’t stripping mainstream elements from the track simply to make the groove or harmony a little more conflicted in tone. Contrarily, I think the fluidity of this performance is made stronger by the minor artistic contradictions between the beat and the melodic underpinning of the music, which definitely fosters some of the intriguing chemistry among the players in the studio. They’re not content with making something formulaic in “Strangers,” and their ambitiousness is leading to some unique musical magic.
The visuals in the video for this song highlight the punkishness of the energy in this performance rather than the implicit club vibe of the rhythm alone, which only makes the duality of the material all the more exciting for us to observe in action. Despite the ebb and flow of the intricacies within this single, there’s nothing but cohesion between the musicians we’re listening to and witnessing on screen -they not only relish this kind of artistic intensity, but they want to cultivate catharsis out of it. Through tension, they’re creating a wild outlet for passion, and I can envision a lot of listeners responding well to this concept.
Those who are searching for an alternative to the mundanity of the mainstream R&B culture replacing much of the soul the genre was built on can count on RM47 for a one of a kind listening experience in “Strangers,” and I doubt this is going to be their lone contribution to this ensuing new chapter in pop music history. They’ve got too much drive for this to be an isolated indie hit, and based on the attack they offer in the climax of this track, I think they’ve still got plenty of aesthetical potencies to tap into in the future.