When I first discovered Manatee Commune earlier this year, I was struck by the complex harmonies thoughtfully at play throughout his work. With his album, PDA, not arriving until April, I waited patiently for trickles of insight on what hints we might have of what’s to come following the January release of single “My Dearest Friend”.
For those of you that like me, have spent the last month with curiosity whirling, I have good news: the latest single from that forthcoming album has finally dropped. “Famous,” featuring Cassandra Violet, is a light, aspirational sound that attempts to unpack the complicated emotions an aspiring young artist can feel. In this way, the content and feel harkens back to Barbra Streisand’s “I’m the Greatest Star” from Funny Girl. But this isn’t 1968 and the ‘pip with the pizzazz’ story is an eternal theme.
As the numerous remakes of A Star Is Born continue to show, the fantasy of striving for fame is something that is constantly reinvented and updated. So are the stressors and consequences that come with it. The trick in artistically deliberating on such an established and universal theme is to be able to pick up on the nuances of the time in which you’re creating. In other words, how is the artist’s plight relevant today?
Like the actresses that portrayed Ester Lester, Manatee Commune boasts a voice and a style that is truly his own. Therefore his musical exploration of the topic has real girth. In addition to his own aesthetic, “Famous” is a visceral impression of what ambition can look like within the electronica space, one that’s crowded and hard to break through. The addition of Cassandra Violet’s vocals add a tremendous vulnerability to this masterfully mixed composition.
“Famous” is available now. Give it a listen and look out for Manatee Commune’s album, PDA, in April 2019.