“One Step At A Time” by RJ’s Latest Arrival + Slum Village

While they’ve got a litany of attributes that could be credited with their ongoing success among R&B and hybrid pop fans in recent years, I think that the vocal component of RJ’s Latest Arrival + Slum Village’s sound is their greatest weapon in the war on modern mundanity. Rather than giving us the same kind of harmonies that a lot of their contemporaries are more than content to peddle as original content, this pair of acts accentuate instrumental melodicism with an equally moxie-packed lyrical foundation, giving us a far more full-bodied sound than the status quo calls for. Their new single “One Step At A Time” embodies their personas and where they’re going in this business next.

Lyrically, the yearning that RJ’s Latest Arrival and Slum Village describe so vividly is breathtakingly personal and honest, and scarcely does it ever come across as being anything other than raw and unfiltered. There’s so much energy in the chorus that, whether they would have layered the vocals together or not, we would have felt a profound physicality from their output in any case. Words have weight when they’re conveyed by the likes of these players, and I don’t believe I’ll be the only critic to comment as much on this single.

The sleek arrangement in the background backs up our singer brilliantly, and I would argue that its overall presence would have been diminished without the moderately electrified slow jam influence over the structure of the hook in “One Step At A Time.” There’s a hip-hop-style indulgence on the backend of this mix, but it works out remarkably well when taking into account how much pressure these lyrics are putting on the groove. This is a solid formula and one that they’ve spent a lot of time cultivating to be all that it can be for their collaborative brand.

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Utilizing a delicate framework for the percussion and the bassline, it allows for RJ’s Latest Arrival and Slum Village to create a wildfire of emotion behind the microphone we might not have experienced were they less adventurous with the parameters of this single. There’s no understating the positive impact that pushing yourself in the recording studio can have when you’re working with the kind of talent that this crew of musicians is, and in this new track, we’re starting to see a more progressive side to their songwriting and producing style that could result in some of their most critically acclaimed content to hit record store shelves to date.

Simply put, RJ’s Latest Arrival and Slum Village are offering a masterclass in R&B melodicism in “One Step At A Time” that their fans and new listeners are going to fall in love with the same this summer. There’s been a lot of buzz around these two in the past, but with the relative lull in new material from many of their closest competitors, this is a moment in their history where mainstream attention isn’t just a possibility; it’s feeling like the next natural step in their careers. RJ’s Latest Arrival & Slum Village are hitting all the right notes in “One Step At A Time,” and making it known how serious they still are about this medium.

Anne Hollister

Anne Hollister

We do music reviews for Independent Artists and Publicists.

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