Chris McClenney is on the cutting edge with ‘What You Mean To Me’
Maryland native CHRIS MCCLENNEY’s final single for his upcoming EP is here at last. With not long until the EP Portrait In Two, McClenney has gifted us with what feels like the quintessential McClenney sound. Piano wizardry at work, paying homage to his classical piano background, whilst maintaining the classic contemporary sound in which McClenney formed a widespread niche within.
With each new instalment, the upcoming EP seems more and more accessible; each one providing a clearer perspective on what McClenney is trying to portray. Each edition comes with more intricate producing and scrupulous attention to detail. But, the real ‘Belle of the ball’ of McClenney’s work, is the ability to paint the most vivid picture of a situation or if we dig a bit deeper, a feeling we’ve noticed ourselves having.
The 23-year-old not only understands his own set of feelings fluently, he knows the blue print to ours as well, giving us exactly what just about anyone who has listened to RnB in the last 10-15 has been praying for.
The last single to his upcoming EP is no exception. He has an unusual knack for tapping into RnB we’ve all listened to and injecting musical theory and the youthful exuberance found in his own music. We’re listening to the new breed of RnB, and McClenney is further cementing his spot at the front of the room with each and every new instalment of his works.
Accompanied with the directions, “Listen to this song with your boo,” nothing else is needed until we press play. It’s touched on the burning heart of RnB – the devotion to another – but only as much as you can fit into a song. In classic McClenney style, he disguises these old RnB values within a fresh new palette of sounds such as smooth piano fixed within synthesised samples, and vocals cutting through with expert precision.
However, McClenney leaves the best until last, his piano expertise the main attraction. A jazz piano solo sounds like the perfect companion to a swooning RnB piece, right? Exactly. McClenney delivers an effortless composition but continues the trend of challenging the listener’s ear. Hitting hard on the jazz notes that we’ve yet to hear in many RnB pieces.
The futuristic blend of classic RnB, music theory and the vivid musical foresight McClenney possesses are brought together perfectly in this piece. With not long to wait until we get the full picture, this should tide you over until Portrait In Two drops early this year.
Words By STEVE COPP