Say what you want about Macklemore. You either love him or you hate him. But there’s no denying that he and Ryan Lewis know how to create a hit song. I’ve now listened to the song above, “Downtown,” twice, and already that chorus (sung by Foxy Shazam’s Eric Nally) is on constant repeat in my head.
It’s been three years since M&RL released their platinum-selling, independently released, mega-hit album The Heist. On August 5th they released their first new recording since that album, “Growing Up,” which is one of their more touchy-feely songs, all about Macklemore’s soon-to-be-born child. (Macklemore and his wife had a baby girl, Sloane, back in May, after “Growing Up” was written and recorded.)
And now here’s sure to be the first hit from their new as-yet-unnamed new album. There’s a lot I don’t care for in “Downtown.” Macklemore is definitely pushing the envelope of his good-boy image with some of the lyrics within (nobody needs to hear about his or anybody’s scrotum, for instance). But the production, that chorus, the prog-rock way the song bounces from one stanza to the next (is this a new genre of music, Prog Hip Hop?) — I love it. It blends old school hip hop (yes that’s Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz you see there), over-the-top orchestration (a la Queen, or more recently, fun.), a touch of Seattle (Hi Junior!) and a little West Side Story. Filmed in Spokane, “Downtown” gets me moving in my seat. As soon as it finishes I want to start it over again.
I can’t wait to see what the rest of the album has to offer, whenever it comes out.