Released: April 2021 Label: Independent
As one of London’s leading R&B artists, Rasharn Powell applies his plain-spoken approach
to new single - 'Blunder'. Released just shy of a week ago it narrates the ebbs and flows to a relationship, recognising that one’s presence for the significant other cannot supersede the commitment a relationship needs. Powell’s presents the song like an open letter through introspective lyrics that carry a lamenting yet nonchalant disparity.
"And if you think that I’m troubled,
The speed of my feet was doubled,
With someone under covers,
I knew I could never love her,
But still, I was right there"
These lyrics convey a strong sense of discomfort and even guilt toward the significant other. Powell reflects on this intimacy and closeness which he knew he couldn’t support with unrequited love perfectly in stating -
"The speed of my feet doubled"
Which suggests to me an avoidance or escapism from the anxiety within the relationship.
The production wears this nervous characteristic well, with a strange Timbaland style bassline, harking back to the his legendary era on the darker moments of Justin Timberlake.
"Never thought I’d feel this thing,
So there’s no need for the trees,
Sometimes it’s like that,
They come right back"
These second verse lyrics contain the classic caring/uncaring juxtaposition. Having gained an understanding of Powell’s discomfort at the relationship’s trajectory in verse one, the second verse is more of a flex to shake off what he feels by dealing with the scenario in a more dismissive fashion.
His honesty comes off as brash and inconsiderate of the other person's feelings, nevertheless, I think the underlying sentiment is a softening bravado which Powell didn’t expect to acquaint with. He includes both his ego and heart perspectives allowing the listener to be simultaneously uncomfortable and consoled at how we instinctively turn to our ego when reacting defensively to emotion provoking situations.
Though the level of compassion in the lyrics wavers, the instrumentation consistently delivers. The demo-style guitar, chord choice and plucking technique maintains the lamenting beneath the more emotionally distant phrases. The guitar loop also translates as an emotional relapse in my opinion, transitioning from unbothered to contemplative and the drum beat simulates heavied footsteps, weighted by emotion. Finally, the track's hook
Finally, the track's hook "I was right there" really sets the tone of the track and almost becomes synonymous with inadequacy upon reflection.
Apologetic may not be the word I would use to summarise 'Blunder' however it is definitely sombre in tone and the ‘no frills’ circuitry composition strongly evokes characteristics of the Blues. We come to understand how Powell’s sound and emotionally disjointed delivery was informed by personal experience, demonstrating how connected to its origin contemporary R&B remains.