Those of us who remember the simple, spacious and observational artistry of the likes of The Streets and Audio Bullys, will probably respond to this single from Charlie Steel with a deep level of appreciation for its nostalgic, minimalist aura. Those who don’t will at least notice the simplicity of it – the easy going beat, the familiar voice, the alternative angle – and subsequently appreciate the distance the artist has placed between himself and the majority of hip hop acts currently roaming the airwaves. In either case, it’s easily worth a download.
Staying In, Going Out is a classically British piece of music and writing that comes through with a comforting level of that which most of us can relate to. The beat is mellow and quick to appeal, the synths warming up the outer layers add a smooth and subtle dance vibe, then you get this characterful bass-line – a key trait of the track that accompanies Steel’s vocal outpouring in a fitting way.
There’s a sense of carefree or laid back expression to the whole thing – the soundscape, the bounce of the beat and the lyrics all walk hand in hand – so you get the story, and you get the personality, and you let it do its thing; which it does, cleverly and effectively. The lyrics even connect quite smartly to the loop of the music – an element of self-awareness that builds further on the song’s inherent realness.
This is the kind of single that connects more with each new play. Steel has a definite style of his own right now, the story-line and his easy going delivery captivate in a rhythmic, enjoyable way. Everything leads quite hypnotically towards what is a surprisingly memorable, recognisable hook, adding a final building block to make this a worthy release among today’s music.
It’s refreshing, the concept and the approach have something very natural and honest about them. Not trying too hard to fit into the wrong kind of box, Charlie Steel does what comes naturally, and this track is a great introduction to that. I look forward to hearing more.