Andrew Michael Meador presents a passionate kaleidoscope of ideas and ideals on the intensely felt “Pride”. Stylistically he runs a significant gamut, going from spoken word poetry to hardcore rap to even classical and R&B cadences. By having this wide range, the listener constantly is surprised, for none of the twists and turns are remotely straightforward. Much of the work possesses a fiery spirit to it, one that reveals Andrew to be quite a well-listener individual. Lyrics certainly point to this idea, for the verses have a conciseness about them which features prominently in the word choice as well as the subject matter.
Work within music is certainly not a new thing for Andrew. Kernels of ideas, songs that pre-date this EP appear throughout his YouTube channel, which you can find right here. Beyond this however, his interest in the music industry helps to give the EP its eclectic sensibly. Experimental yet still very much within the confines of pop music, he pushes the sound further out than most would feel comfortable doing. Instances of exploring interpersonal relationships, the dynamics that frame much of our society, religion and more enter into these careful narratives. A few go even further into the abstract, dealing with a David Lynch-like ‘dream logic’ particularly on some of the spoken moments.
The references that Andrew brings into the mix revel in the exquisite ear for groove and melody. Nods to Max Richter’s unusually emotional classical elements certainly enter into the mix, bringing a bit of tenderness in particular with the strings. On the pop side, there are more than a few elements that bring to mind some of Kendrick Lamar’s hip-hop meets jazz compositions. Many of the rappers feature that distinct Northern California affect to their delivery for every verse has such urgency to it, for they describe an entire universe. Everything here absolutely sparkles for Andrew’s attention to production shows an intensity that feels unparalleled.
For his ability to play a plethora of instruments and effortlessly blend them together his approach touches upon an entirely genre – one of the multi-faceted performers, the producer who can play anything and seemingly, everything. Within this much smaller scope nods to the obsessiveness of St. Vincent’s work come into the fray, for, like her, he is able to sculpt each instrument from trumpet to bass to vocals and more into this coherent, concise whole. The melodic front brings a bit of Badly Drawn Boy’s fondness for unusually dense compositions, for many of these pieces stretch out seemingly into the absolute infinite.
Album art on here further adds to this artistic sensibility. Bled of color, all that remains are pure black and white. The stark imagery hints at what he explores musically, for there is an unadorned quality to many of the stories contained within. Melodies cut to the bone, the beats boom, and the bass in particular feels finely formed. With the dramatic effects included within his eyes, there is a sense of deep unavoidable introspection that occurs. The word choice here is essential, and even the title “Pride” hints at discovering inner truths.
Elegance pours out of the pureness of the opener “Even the Greatest (feat. Jas Baldwin)”. The strings have a resonance about them going for hopeful hues. Her voice neatly walks along these fine lines of sound making sure that her crystal-clear vision is experienced fully. A record crackle helps to give “I Want It All (feat. Quantel & DeVries)” a sense of history behind it. Funk and rap fuses to become one, for there is a Run DMC quality to the flow, with the female vocalists lending it a sense of longing. “Ghidorah (feat. Quantel, Anna Wood & Jones)” rests in the very center of the work, the true highlight of the collection. From the mixture of trap and delicate classical compositions, there is an unhinged vibe about the entire piece. Various little elements collide and smash into each other. Beats have a heaviness nicely punctuating the sheer power of their words.
Minimal in the beginning but with a mighty buildup “Pride (feat. Jiana & DjDee)” makes sure to keep it relatively loose at first. Echo of the vocals, allowing them to waft up into the air, helps to add to the sense of space that they explore with such enthusiasm. Within this piece the bass rolls on through with sheer swagger, for the vocalists switch things up on a dime. A sense of pure disruption accompanies “Look At Me (feat. 423Blizz & Gallery Cat)”. Here they hold nothing back, with the track taking on a punkish, defiant attitude. Lyrics are a bright blur for they race on through with nary a care. Nods to some of Busta Rhymes sheer chaos helps to inform much of the work, for there is a wildness about it that makes it a pure joy to behold. In fact, the one issue might be that the song ends a little abruptly, whereas it at times feels like it is just getting started. “A Fall & A Dive (feat. Michael “Arche” Twitty)” ends the collection on an elegant note. Purely spoken, his voice possesses such clarity, neatly tying together all that came before it in such a focused vision.
“Pride” has a distinct charm to it, one that proves Andrew Michael Meador to be a master of a disparate group of styles, weaving them together to create bright brilliant compositions whose melodies and messages linger in the mind.