Put yourself for a moment in the center of a bustling city on a rainy night, film noir style; the neon lights fight to be seen through the misty air, and taxi cabs splash pedestrians as they drive through puddles the size of a sea. “Mr. Mister,” the sophomore single by Chris Murphy is the song to round out the experience; full of mystique and sultry melodies, this hip-hop-meets-rnb-meets-meets-blues tune has so much to listen to, it demands to be listened to more than once.
The jazz-inspired vocals steal the show in this one, juxtaposing with the bluesy muted guitar perfectly. While the verses tend to lean into hip hop, the background vocals croon in lofty melodies, giving it a more R&B edge. Murphy’s voice sits in a beautiful tenor range, hitting a lower register but maintaining a healthy belt when needed— and given the emotion of this song, it’s definitely called for. His voice emotes so naturally, you can almost see the facial expressions he’d be making while singing. You can hear when the corners of his lips turn upwards on certain words. Yes, it’s that effective.
Lyrically, this song is about dealing with self-doubt and worry, but takes the form of a conversation with an omniscient fictional character. Its lyrics flow like natural conversation, following the cadence and patterns in which people actually speak. It’s an organic and fresh take on lyricism in pop that feels authentic to Murphy’s experience. “I wrote this song one New York winter night on the train home from a long studio session. I was particularly in my feelings that night about self-identity and a slew of other issues, the words came out alarmingly quickly,” Murphy writes.
Chris Murphy is a storyteller from New York, identifying himself as an “old soul expressed in modern sound.” With its sleek production and authentic songwriting, his first single, “Chet’s Baker” earned itself over 100,000 streams on Spotify. As a mastermind in the production power group 1Mind, which brought us bops like “Unforgettable” by French Montana and Swae Lee, he’s already made his mark in the music industry. But make no mistake, Murphy is just getting started.
Written by Jess Ward