Since the first time we saw Shalane’s music video for No Smoke, we were left with a gigantic and definite impression. Don’t get us wrong. It is an absolutely outstanding record, but it becomes an entire entity of its own with the accompanying music video. With perceptible elements of loneliness involved, a gallant demeanor, an enchanting voice, and resonant lyrics that transmit the artist’s perspective, No Smoke is a work of art worthy of all praise and accolades available. Think if Solange Knowles had a cousin. That’s Shalane.
Before we dive into the acoustics, it’s music video analysis time! The slow-motion shots in the first seconds announce a soft, personal setting. Shalane’s look is also one to remember. Shalane made us think of Tutankhamun with the dreads spread precisely in the middle of the head and ending squarely at the jaw line. The intermittent black and white filter gives a touch of nostalgia to the video while guaranteeing a modern classic status. The red glass and the cable microphone are modern pop art elements reminding us of the times we live in. The wind blowing and the water showing make for an epic scenery that might have you replaying the video for that reason alone. The single seat and the table are monumental in the video message. As that one chair represents Shalane talking to the Inner Self as we’ll shortly discover. The two other selves are presumably different sides of the same character. And we’re having the biggest WTF moment of 2020. Why the f*ck isn’t Shalane trending and being blasted all over printed and digital media? There’s no reason for this creative genius to be unknown.
The hook, albeit similar to the verse flow, acts as a gargantuan amplifier of dreamy vibes and ethereal space, “I don’t want no smoke these days/ (I don’t want no smoke, I don’t want no smoke, no)/ I be so solo these days/ (Know I be solo, know I be solo, low)” The heavy reverb and prominent echoes add to the mysticism of No Smoke. The suave piano turns to be the standing pillar of the musical composition. Shalane’s airy vocals with a tinge of raspiness supply the audience’s expectations of an otherwordly lead voice. The artist effortlessly commands the instrumental with subtle flow variations and a smooth cadence. Shalane is evidently an excellent singer but we also hear an undertone of rap skills during the verses. So much to take in!
Shalane goes to make a beautiful connection between emotions and the world around us in the first verse, “Seems like it’s natural disaster everywhere we turn/ A dutch to keep the stress down/ (Dutchie for the stress)/ If you play with fire, then you will get burned/ It also warms the earth now.” If you’ve felt like we did, a genuine soul aching for Mother Earth in Shalane’s lyrics, there’s a real-life basis to it. “No Smoke is the first song off Elemental. A project I wrote during a solo birthday trip through Yosemite, King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Parks a year and some change ago around (4/21/19). It was a very dramatic 26/27-year-old thing to do. I was searching for something to write about and inspiration, and honestly needed to feel something outside of the same old sh*t plus I love nature. So I took the trip and used James / JXXBX’s music (RIP) to help me express myself, came to some very substantial conclusions, and reflected on some huge lessons about life, love, and this world we live in. So I put that on music.” shares Shalane for Blue Rhymez Entertainment.
The second verse is permeated with sheer emotional awareness and mental strength deriving from Shalane’s own trials and tribulations: “I’ve got that fire flowing through me/ Earth beneath my tommy’s/ Water got me drippin’/ Air is all around me/ And the pain is elemental/ Every single lesson/ Every single season/ Everything we’ve been through”. The singer’s neat visual simplicity augments tenfold the lyrical weight and impact. What stands out with the passing of the second verse, is the earworm element of the hook. If, in the beginning, it didn’t necessarily crystallize itself out of the rest of the song (it could easily be misinterpreted as a pre-verse or intro), it now shines thoroughly while subconsciously forcing the listener to sing along.
No Smoke is a serene record beyond the reach of your usual trivialities. It speaks of nature, emotional growth, forgiveness, self-love, tranquility, all while granting the audience with Zen mode audio and visuals. In other words. The dopest song we’ve had on our hands in a very long time.
Song Credits: Shalane Goss (Shalane) – Singer, Songwriter; James Bayliss (JXXBX) – Producer; Joe -Sound Engineer, Augustine Zepeda – Videographer.
Review by Mariana Berdianu
Blue Rhymez Entertainment ©2020