Friday, May 31, 2013

TGIF: New Lauryn Hill - "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)"

I'll be the first to say that I'm pretty happy Ms. Lauryn Hill has, quite quietly, sneaked back with a new track. I've had a tumultuous relationship with my feelings about the once-revered artist - who, along with The Fugees, is hugely responsible for shaping my appreciation for both R&B and hip-hop at an early age, but who broke that bond when she went off the rails more than slightly. I don't punish Hill (or any artist) for the struggles she's had, but it was her attitude towards her fans, former group and  music that jolted me during her downfall.

All of that aside, she sure is back. In the new single "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Remix)," which inevitably should help in shoveling her out of unpaid taxes debt, I'll also be the first to admit that - I have not a single clue Hill is talking about throughout the majority of the song.

But, that fact doesn't take away from the fact that the rapid-fire rhyming and tongue-twisting wordsmithery isn't damn impressive. I'd almost rather listen to Hill ear-catchingly pair together almost nonsensical, syllable-heavy rhymes that she thumbed out of her thesaurus, than listen to half of the mindless radio rap that does put together a "message" - a meaningless one about babes, chains and bills.

She spits fast, hard and relentlessly over a classic Hill beat - chunky and elevated by a symphonic funk layers. And maybe the impossibly fast word pairings are actually meant to unleash a subliminal message to listeners about her discomfort with contemporary society as a whole. Because, although the grand picture is really hard to capture at times, bright words and emphases ("Superficial vanity, borderline insanity...Man is not a product if you call it that then stop it") stand out fiercely, piecing together the pieces when you feel the most lost in translation.

The wildly rambling, but intriguing, first single back is an interesting glimpse into the psyche of Hill, and the song title says it all. In the end, I dig it.

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