Almost two years ago, Mike Baretz went into radio silence. Being a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and producer of his caliber, it goes without saying that this hiatus didn’t spell complacency – the New Yorker took the time to invest his talents into other projects, a major testament to this being his three production credits on Kota the Friend’s newest studio album “MEMO.”
Time kept ticking, and we are now confronted with the reemergence of Baretz’ once-budding contemporary R&B presence on his newest single “Take It That Way” – a track about trying to glue together a crumbling romance, and one that makes us listeners hope that he’ll stop outsourcing his prowess for the time being.
Baretz describes the track as encompassing the frustration that stems from making a last-ditch effort to reconnect with a partner falling out of grasp. Beautifully cascading yet disheartened lyricism – “how many times do I gotta do you right just to level with myself before I fall on the comedown?” – encapsulates a sense of despair amid fleeting hope, as Baretz realizes that he can’t circumnavigate the spiraling staircase that separates himself from the soon to be lost.
Contrary to its foundation of relationship paranoia and a heart splitting by the seam, there is no dissonance to be found within the music itself. The sonic elements of “Take It That Way” mesh together like spouses going forty years strong, and a world of vibrancy and atmospheric formation unfolds on this thing from front to back. Baretz threw his arsenal of palpitating bass sequences, evolving and devolving fidelity and layered harmonics into a blender, mixing it to perfection.
The concoction pours itself around a base of some of the subtlest, cleanest hats and kicks I’ve heard this year, and I ultimately awoke from a trance wondering why Baretz is concerning himself with trouble in paradise if he could make me so smitten – provided he keeps utilizing a DAW like he’s penning a love letter, he’d never have a reason to be so actively zealous. I’d marry him on the spot.
Baretz’ raw sensibility is irresistible, and you can hear the inspiration he’s taken from legendary heartthrobs and similarly-geared superstars such as D’Angelo and Charlie Puth – his high vocal register sucks you in like a black hole, and his approach here ensures that you feel the rhythm before you succumb to the blues.
“Take It That Way” is a pledge of allegiance to the hopeless romantics, and I’ll be slapping this on whenever I’m feeling that type of way.
Note to Mike: If it hasn’t worked out by the time you’re reading this, call me.
By Aidan Mega