You hear it said, that music can often be a reflection of ones surroundings. This quote is exemplified perfectly in GIO’s: Better Than I Know Myself.
The New Jersey based, R&B artist, gives us an insight into his signature Lo-Fi timbre, and emotional depth in lyricism, and boy do we love it.
New Jersey has a rich love affair with Hip-Hop, inspiring artists such as Kool & The Gang, Akon and of course, Whitney Houston. I don’t know if it’s the bright lights of Atlantic City, or the majesty of George Washington Bridge, but there really is something in the water that it covers.
The Lo-Fi, almost Jazz inspired beat that carries the track sets the overall tonality and feel, early on.
It’s hard not to be drawn in by the very minimal percussion, which does enough to add a sense of weight and gravitas to the already, emotive lyrics.
The melody line GIO uses is interesting, almost off rhythm. Which goes well with the overall context of his words.
This can be seen especially in the line: “Don’t really wanna expose myself, but turns out, you know me better than I know myself.” I love this lyric.
Not just because of how universal a feeling that is, but mainly due to the way it is read.
The line is spoken so emotionally, it’s as though he had taken a deep breath before recording that particular take
. And there’s something raw and rather meaningful to that.
It feels, authentic. This rap style is akin to that of Hobo Johnson, whom tends to rap with real emotional intent, but keep a rather breathy vocal take, throughout.
As the track moves along the percussion remains virtually unchanged, throughout.
Though, with the introduction of clever melodic elements, that subtly bring the narrative along, you are u consciously being slowly built up, without even realising.
As the lyrics tell a story, the music behind it follows suit, in the same way a movie score would.
Toward the end of the track more subtle parts are added to bring the chilled, minimalist track to a sense of cohesive closure.
This is done rather beautifully by the higher harmony on the line “somewhere deep down…”, which ends the song, leaving the audience wanting more, or at least, to know the next part of the story.
We can’t wait to hear more.
Words Daniel Kingsley