Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ newest single, Downtown has a massive sound, a great supporting line up with, Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam, Grandmaster Caz, Cool Moe Dee, and Melle Mel. The song also has some pretty sharp humour, but overall, it doesn’t quite seem to know what it’s doing with itself. To put it simply, Downtown is all dressed up but with nowhere to go.
One gets the impression that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were attempting to recreate the massively successful sound and feel of their 2013 track, Thrift Shop. They did a great job attempting to recreate their winning formula once again, but it doesn’t have the same off the wall weirdness that Thrift Shop had, simply because, if you’re using the same formula, you can’t use it to surprise your audience twice.
Lyrically the song is very reminiscent of Thrift Shop, as it has the same sharp sense of humour and it breaks away from the classic Hip-Hop motif of having an exorbitant amount of money and somehow being better than the audience you are singing to. Both Thrift Shop and Downtown attempt to appeal to the everyman. Thrift Shop is all about cheap clothing and looking cool in whatever you wear, while Downtown is all about cheap transportation; mopeds.
The problem with the lyrics of Downtown, is that Thrift Shop had a concise and clear message all the way through the track, but by the second verse in Downtown, Macklemore has kind of lost track of where he was going with this song, and the moped theme is pretty much lost entirely at this point.
Musically however, this song is one of the finest the duo have ever created. Ryan Lewis, the producer on this track and on Thrift Shop has outdone himself. The influence of Michael Jackson's Bad comes across in the gang vibe of the song. It feels like two groups are fighting it out through their music, lead by Macklemore on the one side, and Eric Nally on the other. There are Queen influences on the Eric Nally choruses with big, orchestral and natural sounding instrumentals. The track just has a very Ryan Lewis-esque vibe to it, and I love it.
With all its flaws, I still love this song, and I think this along with the recent single Macklemore did with Ed Sheeran, Growing Up I have the feeling, we have a great album on the way.
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Plug in your head.