by Dom Jones
The past few months in particular have been permeated with tragedy, violence, and generally illuminating the worst of humanity. The United States is seemingly entering wartime, and companies like Uber and United Airlines are showing the type of overt and gross prejudice that one would hope at least the real and perceived fiscal consequences of behaving in such a manner would prevent. Throughout history, musicians have always taken a critical, but hopeful look at humanity and created songs to both inspire thought and hope in all of us. Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” or John Lennon’s “Imagine” or even Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream” are all examples of songs that were at one point anthemic, putting is in the space of self reflection.
On the heels of the Songs for Social Change competition here at Berklee, where students on our campus wrote beautiful music, inspired by the challenges we face as a society and the changes we can make to address said challenges, I heard a new song from one of my favorite artists, Mali Music. It’s called “Gonna Be Alright,” and it reflects the kind of music he’s been making his entire career – music that is much needed in the landscape of music and our present world. The lyric isn’t complex, and the production is simplistic as well, but what Mali does masterfully is to capture a feeling and amplify it through his tone and delivery.
The song begins with a sample from iconic gospel group Take 6’s “Spread Love,” which is apropos, and launches straight into questioning the meaning of life:
“What’s it all about
Why is blood flowing through this body
Why is air in my lungs
Where we going now
Why did I get to place my feet here
Thy kingdom come Thy kingdom come”
The slight religious references in Mali’s music are a nod to his gospel roots, as though he’s taken a more contemporary route in the past few years, his first releases were strictly Christian music. That said, the song never comes off as preachy, and there’s no identification or separation of sinners and saints. This allows the listener to have any kind of background, yet still be affected by the tune. We need more songs like this, while the future is more uncertain than ever – sometimes reminders of the core values we so often profess like love and faith must remind us that through our darkest hours, there is light on the other side. This single gives us the reminder in a straightforward and unabashed way. Like a grandmother comforting a crying child or a friend holding another friend close after a difficult week, Mali reminds us all that, “It’s gonna be alright.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF MALI MUSIC’S SONG? CHECK IT OUT AND LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!