Stars and Shards – Loyle Carner

After the first listen, I noticed a dichotomy between instrumental tones in Loyle Carner’s “Stars and Shards” that parallels the initial subject matter of the song nicely. Much like “Sonny who was ironically dark,” the song contrasts a light and mellow, jazz-esque guitar sound with a weighty hip-hop drum beat and darker bass riff. Carner never uses too much or too little, maintaining a chill atmosphere with only two guitars and a voice, while the popping old-school beat drives the track forward in an energetic line. Despite the minimalist use of instrumentation, these variant tones create a full musical ambiance, displaying Carner’s understanding of the importance of prudence in song construction. It is also clear that Carner understands his own grimy voice as an instrument, weaving syllabic beats in and out of a jazzy/hip-hop groove, each musical component supporting the other. Carner has a good vocabulary and excellent word choice, and throughout the track consistently deviates from conventional rhyming patterns. There is a variety to his rhyme placement, which he uses to fill each bar aptly. It’s a good song, but one of my least favourites when compared to the rest of the album. Though the instrumentation creates a catchy rhythm and the contrasting tones create an interesting musical atmosphere, the track itself is a little too straightforward to hold my attention for long, and when comparing the song to the rest of the album, I can’t hear the strong emotion that seems to be Carner’s signature.

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