Tuesday, May 28, 2024

SiR’s ‘Heavy’ New LP: His Five Favorite Songs

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It’s been five years since SiR launched a full-length album – and the world is a very different place from what it was back in 2019. More importantly, however, SiR is also a different person. 

The Inglewood-bred R&B crooner has kept a relatively low profile over the past half-decade, as he took some time to recalibrate his life following a stint in rehab to reach a place of literal and emotional sobriety. In his efforts to get his life back on track, SiR wrote an abundance of poems that eventually evolved into Heavy – a gritty, fearless look at the flaws and vices that threatened to drown him, and the faith and hope that gifted him a second chance. 

The songs on Heavy are wholly immersive. Unflinching looks at unsavory past habits (“Ignorant”) stand alongside poignant love letters to the young Black men of the next generation (“Ricky’s Song”), all wrapped in production that gradually transitions from percussive rock-adjacent R&B to ethereal, melodic gospel stylings. SiR describes his new LP as “dark, ugly, [and] honest in a way that I should have never been,” but songs on the record’s back half — like album closer “Brighter” — signal the arrival of hard-earned optimism for the R&B star.  

That level of introspection marks a stark tonal and thematic shift from his previous record, but his malleable voice and evocative tone work as undeniable throughlines in his catalog. Heavy transforms the subtly sultry atmospheric haze of its 2019 predecessor Chasing Summer into a grueling inner dialogue performed squarely in front of a mirror. Here, SiR looks to the pasts of the Black men who raised him to conjure up a sense of healing for his present self — and a future devoid of fear for the young Black men coming up after him.  

“It’s all a story of love and how we love,” he explains. “I learned so much from my father’s tragedies. He turned them into testimonies for me, and I use them in my everyday life. I just want to do the same thing… it’s a blessing to have guidance. More men, more black men need that type of guidance.” 

In the time since Chasing Summer, SiR has put out a slew of acclaimed singles (including 2022’s slinky “Nothing Even Matters”) and picked up his first career Grammy nominations for his “Back to Love” collaboration with Alex Isley and Robert Glasper (best R&B song and best R&B performance). He hasn’t been absent so much as he’s been carefully biding his time – under the steady guidance of TDE CEO Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith – to properly re-enter the music scene and launch the latest entry in a discography that effortlessly embodies contemporary West Coast soul. 

With a new era and tour on the horizon, SiR breaks down his five favorite tracks on Heavy – which hits digital streaming platforms today (March 22).

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