Review: Rag’n’Bone Man – ‘Skin’

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80%
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Very Promising

Another display of Rag'n'Bone Man's impressive vocal approach, even if beckons a little more of a pop feel

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Following the tremendous success of summer single ‘Human’ that led to the BRITs Critics’ Choice prize and second behind RAY BLK in the BBCs Sound of 2017, the second single from Rag’n’Bone Man’s Human is another impressive display of his unique style and approach, even if it does conform to a more conventional pop form than his previous work.

The focus here is on the climax of a relationship, as ‘Skin’ opens with a dramatic statement of power and authenticity that, in some ways, continues from ‘Human’ in depicting the shift from declarations of self-worth to exploring how this worth cashes out: “When my skin grows old / When my breath runs cold / I’ll be thinking about you.” The beat, while nothing overly exciting, is cleverly simple to underly his message whilst allowing his earthy vocals to shine through, then allowing for an energetic and uplifting chorus which uses beat drops to create stomping sensations. Of course, his love is never shown as reciprocated – instead, “we bleed ourselves in pain.” The power of love, however, remains.

‘Skin’ therefore becomes an exemplar of Rag’n’Bone Man’s ability to apply his rustic blues vocal to powerful messages. This then applies another dimension to the lyrics themselves as they gain a sense of authenticity that is largely absent from the plethora of pop that commonly agonises about love. The only shame (and a caution in mind with Human due in full on February 10th) is that the song feels more structurally plain than ‘Human,’ yet thankfully it manages to retain an individuality nevertheless.

‘Skin’ is out now via Columbia

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Philosopher and Historian and major pop-fan. You can find me listening to most pop in the charts (Beyoncé and Sia are most certainly goddesses), as well as some modern jazz and classical and enjoing the occasional trip to the theatre. I'm also interested in the repurcussions of the representation of sex in modern-day media! And I might be a fan of the X Factor. Sorry, I can't help it...

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