Brooklyn, New York born Rina Chanel isn’t tied to geography but, instead, a citizen of the world in the best sense of the word. Her work leading up to now, including successful singles such as “More Than Enough” and “Made”, sounds like a setting of the table for where her music is going now. “Sweetest of Melody” is a track from her new EP Rina but, like her earlier releases, has tremendous value as a standalone song. Chanel’s reached a place in her musical development where she’s knocking figurative long balls out of the park each time she steps up to the plate and there’s no sign her hot streak is cooling off.
There’s a perfect mix of hot and cool making “Sweetest of Melody” work. The hot hits us from the first with the saxophone slicing its way out of the mix. Its smoky moan gives the song a simmering quality from the start. Chanel’s singing turns up the heat several degrees without ever burning out of control. She fills each musical passage with vivid color, never gaudy, and invests the song’s turns of phrase with the right measure of emotion.
The drumming is exceptional. A key element in making pure R&B numbers such as this work is in rhythm and timekeeping. “Sweetest of Melody” finds its groove immediately and rides it through the end with relaxed precision and Chanel’s vocals accentuate the rhythm rather well. Understanding the percussive potential of vocal phrasing is likely a byproduct of her early professional training, but it isn’t a skill you can teach. Such an overlooked yet crucial tool for any greater singer falls into the category of You’re Either Born With It or Not.
She has plenty of It. It’s a fully-realized track, as well, with its music, lyrics, and vocals working together as a coherent whole. It isn’t one of those songs where listeners force themselves to ignore glaring weaknesses in favor of focusing on its strengths. Chanel and her collaborators expended a great of mental and physical effort getting this song to fly and their hard work isn’t in vain. Perhaps most importantly, however, they make it sound effortless.
It’s a brilliant way to promote Chanel’s upcoming EP release. You can take “Sweetest of Melody” on its own, divorced from other songs, and get a lot out of it. Or you can view the new single as the first piece in a likely well-woven musical mosaic. It likely enriches and complements the other material. Chanel is no stranger to concert stages as well and now, with the pandemic possibly fading in our collective rear view mirror, she will be able to highlight this song and other new tracks at future live performances.
It certainly has the necessary ingredients for delivering the goods. Chanel deftly moves between the past and present during “Sweetest of Melody” but, ultimately, the core strengths of this new single are its fundamentals. Rina Chanel has released a new song that successfully invokes the past without ever living there.