By Daniel Paiz
Seemingly endless stacks of music are out there to be discovered, enjoyed, and reviewed; that doesn’t detract this listener from attempting to do so despite the odds. This week is no different. However, you might want to buckle in for a very different album review compared to our last “A Month’s Worth” issue.
KRS-One and Pink Sweat$ genuinely might be nearly opposite ends of the music spectrum, at least when it comes to tone and feel. That doesn’t mean they both don’t share powerful messages, both appropriate for these times. Reflection is prevalent in both tapes; Pink Planet just has a different kind of emotional pull.
Traveling to Pink Planet
A fair note of warning must be made public: I just heard about Pink Sweat$ in 2021. He’s not an artist I’ve been following or spending free time checking out; he legit just popped up onto my radar. Luckily for me, despite having some stuff already out, I have not missed his debut album release by much (Feb. 2021). Government name David Bowden has crafted some music that is 100% escapism, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Unlike other albums that show what vehicle (real or imaginary) they’re using to transport you, Bowden gently and consensually places you on Pink Planet. No connecting flights, no beaming or magic or anything like that. One minute you are turning the music on; the next, you are there.
While all 18 tracks are of course different and have differing stories throughout, the tone is continuity gold. The fluidity, the composition of music and lyrics together… there’s a lot of lessons on this project for artists and musicians of all levels. There’s another big thing that Pink Sweat$ does that I’ve been harping on across various social media platforms: the execution of simple.
Simple is deceptively hard, because it’s saying a lot while passing on very little actual information. The word choices across this album are accessible and meaningful. This project is hard in a way to break down lyrically because Sweat$ has frankly already done that. But, that doesn’t mean an attempt can’t still be made, say from the track Beautiful Life:
And you know that when you wake up
You know I like the way the sun hits you
I know some places I can take you
Girl, we could really get away from here
Where you wanna go, love?
What you wanna do?
I can make it better-Pink Sweat$
The visuals are sensual yet direct. Bonding is set to happen with getting away from wherever these two might be. The first two lines can be a bit of a double entendre if you really want to dig; “wake up” and “the sun hits you” could be multiple things. Either way, the affection, the openness, the vulnerability though? That’s an extra something special. Part of why this album is so appealing right now, in 2021, is the openness to expressing love, affection, and emotions that frankly have been placed to the side. It’s very understandable why they have been; that doesn’t mean they have to remain sidelined.
Somehow Pink Sweat$ is showing vulnerability and openness are needing to be rediscovered
Another track baring emotions that feel ancient and foreign would be the thematic track 17. Now, the entire album in a way is a love album, but 17 is one of two love track standouts (At My Worst being the other). A few lines from this track might leave a listener as wistful as it momentarily did me:
I would need a million words
If I tried to define
All the things you mean to me, yeah
For you, I’d die a thousand lives
Special kind of energy
’Cause love is born when hearts collide
Every time you touch me
You remind me that I’m still alive-Pink Sweat$
A touching opening verse on this track is lovely to hear no matter how many times you hit repeat. The cynic in me balks at the dramatic abundance of affection; that’s a lotta death (a thousand lives?) and even a bit of violence (hearts colliding can be both good and bad). Now of course the dreamer and wishful individual rooming with the same cynic appreciates the overt displays of affection and dedication. Follow this with a gem-filled chorus:
So promise you’ll never change
And I’ll always be the same
We’ll be dancing the same groove when we’re ninety-two
The same as seventeen
And I’ll never lie to you
Just don’t you hold back on me
I wanna love you as strong when we’re ninety-two
The same as seventeen-Pink Sweat$
And then you just simultaneously have eye-rolling and big smiles. No one ever stays the same, even if they try to. The sentiment is assuredly felt. That pursuit of everlasting love and care is admirable, possessing a vulnerability that harkens perhaps to another era of music. Wisdom and naiveite drip from several lines. Perhaps that’s why so many people, despite often acting cynical and dour and cold, still listen to this music. Effort from the chorus is not lost here.
Last words when departing from such a lovely place…
It’s not all a bed of roses for the Pink Planet crooner. On certain tracks you get to hear about difficulty, adversity and even displacement. While Not Alright might sound similar to other popular songs out there, restlessness mixed with a hint of nowhere to stay mirrors real life when this rising star was without shelter. Art imitates life too often and this is just one of many examples on this tape.
That’s the most important part of magic that is Pink Planet, both the escapist tendencies mixed with real world reflections. That’s a tough tightrope to balance, but this guy does it. The best part about all of this is, you can visit this place anytime you want; admission is simply how much time you want to spend here.