DR King – Gravedigger

In his latest single Gravedigger, The Voice’s DR King stylishly tackles the subject of racial inequality in America with an angst-ridden, funky rebelliousness that was hinted at in the song Love is a Drug but is fully realized in this new composition.

The same vivacious energy that made him a huge draw on the mega hit NBC program is grandiosely emphasized here, under the watchful production eye of co-writer Marc Swersky. Along with Brielle Brown, King wrote Gravedigger as a means of musically voicing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and the sincerity of his convictions can be felt well beyond the opulent vibrations of the song’s opening salvo.

The tempo that pushes Gravedigger into the spotlight unfolds behind the glistening harmony of the backing vocals, which gloriously welcome us to the track before clearing out for a funky guitar riff that pulsates beside King’s verses. The musical assault is softened by the velvety vocals, which are woven into the rhythm with upmost care.

The rattling percussion isn’t quite as enticing as the bass, which thunderously trots to the beat of King’s syllables, echoing the calculated groove of the arrangement without ever interrupting the flow. This isn’t a war between the singer and the band; it’s a culmination of their chemistry distributed across three and a half minutes of bittersweet play.

I’m not usually one to get hung up on the way a song is mixed, but you’d have to be a complete fool not to be enamored by the amazingly even-keeled production of Gravedigger. Our attention isn’t spread thin by the lofty equalization; if anything it makes it tremendously easier for us to tune into all of the divine intricacies that the melody has to offer us.

There’s a lot of depth on the guitar parts in particular, which ends up making the bassline sound a little more ominous and sensitive to the percussion. Whether it’s King’s singing or the gargantuan thrust of the band, there’s something incredible coming at us from every angle in this song.

The arrangement of the instruments in Gravedigger is calculated and borders on postmodernity when we break apart all of the different pieces and study their bones. Meticulously designed around King’s expansive range, what makes this single as chilling a listen is its robotic synchronicity.

Nothing ever gets out of its place here; the instruments are role players meant to drive the lyrics to the center of the spotlight. The bulk of the weight is being carried by King, but the cerebral ambience of the music makes his job a lot less demanding.

There’s no need to debate it – DR King’s music is barreling through the pop scene with a buzz that demands our attention and doesn’t appear be slowing down anytime soon. Gravedigger doesn’t attempt to reinvent the construction of poppy R&B, but rather it peppers the template with a spicy sardonicism that speaks for the souls that have no voice in our society but whose story deserves to be told just the same.

King is a pop star with a social conscience, and in this latest single we see just how serious he is about using the god-gifted platform he’s received for good while still getting us dancing to a funky beat at the same time. Fans will get to see this action in person this January, when he goes on tour with the legendary Kelly Clarkson for what will likely be a banner musical campaign that starts off 2019 right.

If you enjoyed Gravedigger, give DR King a follow on Instagram by clicking here & a follow on Twitter by clicking here.

Eric Jarvis

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