By Eóin Donnelly
January is a weird month. While most of us are working double-time on improving ourselves, clinging steadfast to our New Year’s Resolutions and living out our own Rocky Balboa training montage- at least that’s how I imagine it- the artistic world retreats into a contemplative hibernation. That the Billboard Hot 100 and U.K. Top 40 Singles Chart are both currently topped by a decidedly average Drake single (‘God’s Plan’) speaks volumes of the lull in stellar musical output that typically accompanies a new year. The dividends of late nights in recording studios may not be observed until the story of 2018 begins to take shape. With Sylvan LaCue’s Apologies In Advance failing to meet the bar set by its excellent string of singles, Justin Timberlake’s Man of The Woods– check out my top 20 Timberlake songs here– a wholesome reinvention too contrived to take serious and Migos’s protracted Culture II the biggest cash-grab of a sequel since Zoolander 2, three of my most-anticipated albums of the year have been and gone without holding my attention or interest for as little as morning to night.
On the bright side, with such a dearth of quality my job of choosing the standout song from 2018’s first month is a ridiculously easy one. There will be no honourable mentions. It can only be SiR’s gorgeous ‘D’Evils’, the runaway winner in a musically malnourished month where I felt like Oliver begging the music gods for more. I’ll always be a sucker for a soulful sample flip, so kudos to producer D.K. The Punisher for taking a 1981 reggae hit (Billy Boyo’s ‘One Spliff A Day’) and turning it into a narcotic, alluring winter banger that I’ll be bumping just as loudly well into the summer.
As I wrote in my piece on SiR’s first album under the TDE label, November is the perfect album for chilling out with whiskey and ginger ale on the rocks, and there’s no better example than ‘D’Evils.’ Increasingly underwritten and derivative trap aesthetics seem to envelop modern hip-hip and RnB more and more with each passing month. With one soulful foot in the past and the other marching towards a celestial future, D’Evils’ is a refreshing alternative to the zeitgeist. There’s real sleeper hit potential with this one. It is a song to be luxuriated in, a world in itself that makes you feel as high as Snoop Dogg in 4/20 just by its sound. Please, SiR, can I have some more?