Shaun Mbah– Standards (Track Review)

Written by Pat Moran

Husky, warm and enfolding, Shaun Mbah’s vulnerable vocal sets the tone for “Standards,” the British-Nigerian composer’s soul-pop rumination on the risks of giving your heart to another. 

“Are you gonna be the one/ Are you gonna be the one that matters/make me fall in love/Cause I don’t wanna/ Low my standards” 

Percolating pointillist beats and rippling guitars enhance the track’s meditative mood. Multi-tracking his voice, Mbah delves into an internal call and response, balancing need with caution, yearning with self respect. 

The percussion drops out as guest artist Tishé enters the heartfelt fray with an onrushing melismatic flow. Here, her high standards connect to a higher calling.

“I’m a movement/I’m a temple/I’m the only one/That I check in/With the holy one”

Whether Tishé’s spiritual beliefs jibe with Mbah’s may be beside the point. What’s clear is that a sense of spirit enlivens the track. Here, a simple sense of self worth seems holy.

As more multi-tracked voices join in, braided currents of contrapuntal melodies empty like tributaries into a broad musical stream. “Standards” reaches a cradling crescendo, as vocal multitudes  dissolve into one shared and sacred voice.

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