“No matter where we meet, we gone dance to the beat / Until the sun comes up, there aint no stopping us / No matter where we meet, we gone dance to the beat / Until the sun comes down, share our world all around,” sings The Nileram in her new lyric video “Ride,” much of her tonal presence shaping the mood of the song as a whole. There’s no stopping this profoundly gifted singer when she finds a melody she likes, and although hers is one of the more conventional takes on retro R&B I’ve listened to lately, it’s also one of the most likeable by a mile.
The Nileram doesn’t need a feature or even some fancy synthetic underpinning beneath the groove in this single to dazzle us with her prowess around a beat – she’s got a voice that can both structure the rhythm and set the emotional subtext of the lyrics up without much help from the instrumental faceting here. I like that she knows how to keep things simple without turning in something wholly minimalistic and devoid of color, and if her style were to take root in the mainstream R&B community, it would do the whole genre some good (especially stateside).
This beat is rather inelegant beside such a charismatic vocalist as The Nileram, and I think it was necessary to give the rhythm some edge simply to emphasize the physicality of every different melodic component in the mix. There’s a lot of movement in this single, and it’s generated by some brash percussive entity alone. We’ve got brawn in the bass that could stand in place of the drums and still give my girl a lot of room to groove, and while she doesn’t have to go that far to make some fireworks happen in “Ride,” it’s obvious she has it in her.
The bassline is spaced away from the vocal just enough to give the arrangement a dose of funk that just wouldn’t have been present in the song were this not the case. I think it’s quite clear that The Nileram takes a lot of influence from the old fashioned funk, soul, R&B, and vocal pop that paved the way for the modern beats that drive us wild every night we hit the club, but she isn’t tethering her core aesthetics to the past exclusively. There’s ambition here extending well beyond the desire to make a throwback in “Ride,” and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.
I wasn’t following The Nileram very closely before checking out this all-new single and lyric video just recently, but I think I’m going to keep tabs on what she puts out in the next couple of years. She’s got an energy that I could use a lot more of as a music critic, and as a fan of fast-paced R&B, hers is a sound that is desperately desired among those of us who appreciate contemporary experimentation but crave something true to the classic model as well.