Spoiler alert…the last two years have been shit. Artists have reflected that and put out some of the most important music in years. Music has explored racial strife, deaths by police and isolation / death stemming from COVID. Now with the war in the Ukraine, there is a steady drip of violence and pain every news break. This drip, drip, drip can build into a flood, which can quickly overwhelm you. At times getting out of bed and going through the day is exhausting. Not too long ago I celebrated getting out of my pyjamas for the day and going to the store felt like a journey for supplies in The Walking Dead.
Gifted is the vaccination of hope the world needs. I think this is the third review I have written about a track on this record. If you read them all back to back you have a mini album review. Well, I have written so much about this record because the more I listen to it the more things I find to love about it. Thus far, this is my record of the year by a wide margin. The main reason is that Koffee is able to construct a record with socially important tracks like Defend and Shine, while also infusing the record with a joy and hope that warms my soul every time I listen to it.
Her track x10 opens the record and teaches the listener that this is going to be a personal record of pain, but also unbridled joy and hope. Real talk, there are times I listen to this track and I am almost brought to tears. Having said that, it is quite a simple song musically. It opens with an etherial playing of Redemption Song by Bob Marley in the background. This not only pays homage to one of Koffee’s idols, but also Marley’s track is all about love and hope. The first verse is Koffee banging on a drum with her hand, which sounds like a heart beat and is a touch to the track that I am in love with. x10 builds to a full compliment of acoustic guitar, bass, bongos and other bits of percussion that creates a wonderful warmth.
Lyrically, this is a uniquely personal and intimate song. Koffee usually sings about more general themes, such as parties and how great it is to sing reggae. However, Koffee starts this track with singing about how she faces many trials in her life, but she is happy to be alive. Ultimately, this is a song about faith, love and hope. Koffee is thanking Jah for his blessings and how she can repay those with a moral life. She sings about being blessed x 10, hence the title, and how she can always count on those blessings to take her through both high and low times in her life. She sings about the unconditional love of her mother, her friends’ love and the blessing of life in general.
Koffee’s x10 is only a tick over 2 minutes and may sound simplistic on its face, but that is misleading. This track tackles complex themes of overcoming challenges in life, faith, love and hope. Some songs hit because they are the perfect song at the perfect time. A year ago x10 might have come across as tone deaf as the world was gripped by COVID and uprisings in the streets. If x10 comes out next year, it might come across as a nice song, but nothing special. However, x10 has come out now, when people are searching for a light at the end of the tunnel. It might seem disheartening that a song about hope comes off as fresh and new in 2022. I choose to look at it differently. I think that sentiment is the precise reason x10 is so powerful and necessary. x10 is not my song of the year thus far because it is an example of music virtuosity. It is my song of the year thus far because it has touched my soul like no track has in the past two years.
Listen to x10