New Song Friday: "1 Night" - Mura Masa feat. Charli XCX
This week was musically disappointing for me. The only release that really blew me out of the water was "Land of the Free" by Joey Bada$$, which I recommend you check out. However, the song that I kept coming back to on my playlist of "spring music” was “1 Night,” the new collaboration between Mura Masa and Charli XCX.
This is the type of song that could blow up and get a ton of radio play: It's got a really catchy hook and all the right sounds to fit the hit formula—which is why I'm so surprised that I keep revisiting it. I try not to write about songs this shallow, and in general, I'm not a fan of Charli XCX, yet here we are.
Mura Masa is the stage persona of a young whippersnapper named Alex Crossan, who is just 20 and has had the type of career that tends to upset people who have achieved less in more time. Since he started releasing music in 2014, Crossan has gotten A$AP Rocky to feature on his song “Love$ick” and has seen his tracks remixed by, among others, Four Tet—kind of a big deal in the electronic music community. Basically, he’s doing pretty well for himself for a 20-year-old.
Back to the song. though. I'd like to amend what I said above: There’s no “could” about it—this song is going to see a lot of airtime. Once the weather starts to warm up in the U.S. and summer takes full swing, this is a song I expect to hear on the radio. It’s got the perfect tropical beat for driving to the beach with your windows down, pool parties, and backyard barbecues. It's really just the ideal summer song, period. In that way, it reminds me of “Down” by Marian Hill, which I correctly predicted would get hot, but I’m guessing “1 Night” heats up a little more quickly.
The lyrics are shallow and don't offer any real insight to a deep, meaningful story. My general sense is that Charli XCX had some one-night stand that she's looking back on fondly. The brevity of the lyrics actually fit quite well with the song, which is as short and infectious as the one night it describes.
The instrumentation is well crafted and sensibly assembled, which I've come to expect from Mura Masa. Where he really shines is mixing and mashing disparate instruments. My favorite Mura Masa song is “What If I Go?” Just like that track, “1 Night” somehow balances plucked harp-like sounds with electronic beats and deep bass. It’s a really fun juxtaposition of sounds, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy his music.
Another instrument that appears in much of Mura Masa's music is the steel drum. I've talked about this before, but pitched percussion instruments are ideal for digital music production. That said, the steel drums that dominate the song’s beginning carry throughout, but the first time I heard the opening, the drums did next to nothing for me.
Actually, now that I think about it, the first time I heard the song, I didn't really like it at all.
I stumbled upon a review of “1 Night” in Pitchfork's Best New Tracks section a few weeks back and thought I'd give it a listen. I was excited for new Mura Masa stuff, even if that enthusiasm was dampened by Charli XCX’s presence. After I listened to the song once, I didn't really revisit it for a few days. I dug through more and more music, but nothing was really jumping out to me, so I started re-listening to all of the songs I had bookmarked. “1 Night” was on that short list, and as the song grew on me, its play count skyrocketed.
I've been wondering if I dismissed this song at first because I didn’t want to like it (I really can’t overstate my non-appreciation of Charli XCX). It wasn't until I was desperate for something I wanted to write about that I re-visited it with fresh ears and started enjoying it for what it is. I prefer a good story that carries weight and a deeper meaning, but I guess sometimes what I really need is a song to enjoy for no reason other than "this sounds nice and makes me smile.”
Work has been really stressing me out these last few weeks, and this song is everything that I've needed. It's a respite from the long hours, problem solving, and timelines that have dominated my life for too long. It might not be the best song I've heard—it certainly lacks the depth of other songs I love—but it makes up for all of it in pure fun. Like last week’s song link, “1 Night” will probably rub some of you the wrong way. It's not the type of song I usually write about and not one I'd often choose. But you know what? That’s fine. You know what will probably help you get over it? Laying in the sun and listening to some sweet tropical beats.
Until next week.