Welcome to Leo season, PearShaped readers. The summer sign that brings fun, creativity, and desire. Despacito was a lot of things: sexy, but trying really hard. A smooth Spanish language track, but sort of not. Daddy Yankee was there, but he’s Justin Bieber’s wingman. It suited that weird early summer period when you felt like you still had loads of work to do, but you didn’t, so instead of channelling all that energy into the library you found yourself at strange local festivals with a mixed berry cider attached to your hand at all times like an alcoholic growth.
Well that was Cancer season - persuasive as it was, it has thankfully come to an end. Now enter the lions: DJ Khaled, Rihanna, and Bryson Tiller. Alright, that last one may still be more of a lion cub than a lion, but he gets a free pass on this one for being part of such an unbelievably large tune. There’s an extensive list of people responsible for Wild Thoughts, actually, including PARTYNEXTDOOR, and various collaborators from The Refugee Group, thanks to the gratuitous sample that defines the song, and carries the Latin American inspired theme that is gripping the summer.
The song Maria Maria by Santana and The Product G&B, produced by Wyclef Jean, was released in November 1999, topped the charts worldwide in the months following. It’s not as carefree and uninhibited as its successor, but what were we to expect, what with it being released in Scorpio season and all. In the crossover, the sample kept the sensuality and mystery of the original song, but lost West Side Story, which was the influence for the lyrical content of the track.
And the lyrics of 2017’s Wild Thoughts? Well, they’re not exactly crafted poetry (“Now that pipe got her running like she Usain, baby,” is a favourite of mine) but it’s not a singer’s song, is it? It’s DJ Khaled’s, and that makes every potentially grievous thing about it okay. More than that, it makes every brilliant thing about it ten times more brilliant. Rihanna dominates the song, from her beautifully slurred singing to her boobs in the music video, but Khaled is right next to her, cheering her on like her biggest fan. The sample itself doesn’t quite work somehow, but however much it jars me every time I hear it, I keep coming back for more. There are definitely things that are wrong with Wild Thoughts, but literally none of them matter.
It’s been a much better year this year for music, and Leo season isn’t stopping that trend anytime soon. Feed me to the lions.