There’s a gentle finger snapping that’s guiding a piano being played so softly against a cloudy backdrop of synthesized melody. Out of nowhere DR King’s divine voice penetrates the somber environment as if to take our hand and lead us away from this grey, uncertain place we’re wandering. Where he’s taking us is somewhere much brighter and full of life, and though it will take a lot of introspection and self-realization to get there, the journey that his single “Love is a Drug” takes us on is well worth our time and patience. As we transition from the first batch of verses into the epic chorus, King shows off his immaculate vocal range to the tune of a jazz-inspired rhythm, and in an instant we become aware that we’re listening to something very extraordinary. His writing chops along co-writer Brielle Brown really stand out on this track.
Jackie Foster makes an appearance in the second stanza and we’re reminded of why she found so much success alongside King on The Voice. Together they soar through the song’s dexterous vocal arrangement with surgeon-like precision, and while the harmony that they generate together is as delicate as a pristine frozen lake on the last day of winter, its reflective quality makes it almost operatic in its opulence. I can’t believe this is DR King’s very first single. The first time that I listened to this song I was utterly moved emotionally and physically by the depth of King and Foster’s marriage of melodies, the second time I could only marvel at how complex of a composition it was, and by the third I was simply addicted to its grandeur.
“Love is a Drug” is a song that you can listen to over and over on repeat and never walk away with the same interpretation of its meaning twice. There’s a lot of subtleties to this track, tucked away beneath the surface appeal of King and Foster’s incomparable duet. If you listen closely enough, you’ll start to hear the hallmarks of R&B’s past, the swing beat and the jazz fusion style tempo changes. There’s a lot of classical music theory worked into this song, but it’s so brilliantly streamlined that even a complete musical novice would have no trouble identifying this song as intellectually advanced. Producer Marc Swersky really hit the mark on this one.
Music has been like a religion for me since I was very young, and I’ve always been able to spot someone else that grew up visiting the same church that I did. DR Kingisn’t making music for the fame and financial glory that he will inevitably receive quite a bit of, but more for the satisfaction of leaving an inimitable impression on the entire world around him. The length of our time on this planet is impossible to determinate, and I’ve learned that you have to make the most of every moment you’ve got while you’re still here and participating in the game of life. DR King is committed to making his life count for something far bigger than selling CDs and making videos for MTV – he wants to make the world a better place, and just in choosing to share his magnificent talent with us, he’s already gotten off to a pretty good start.
Kim Muncie approved by Sebastian Cole