Brimming with Niceties & Gospel, ‘Pink Planet’ is Pop for a More Soulful World
Evan Dale // Feb 26, 2021
“’Pink Planet’ is about love, it’s about inclusivity, and it’s about creative freedom. Top to bottom, I’m giving a glimpse into my creative world; and I hope there’s a little something for everybody in it,” said Pink Sweat$ about his new project.
As long as no one listening – no one reading – is against the pink spectrum of the color wheel at large, there is more than a little something in the Philadelphia artist’s full-length debut towards which to dance, to cry, and to humanly feel. Pink Planet emerges at a time in Neo-Soul and R&B history where the two lanes – which if so distinguished, are by a line of instrumentation over modern production; an affinity for the Soul tenants of the 60’s and 70’s, over the Golden Era sounds of the late 80’s and 90’s – have merged with a post-genre milkiness of pop sensitivity to give today’s most wide-ranging voices the opportunity to bend their aesthetic at will. For Pink Sweat$ - so named for his simple fashion choices harboring comfortability over anything else – the ability to delineate his own mosaic of sonic textures, and tell stories of timeless love and an ever more inclusive modernity, seems to be what Pink Planet represents to the Neo-Soul and R&B realm in a pop-heavy post-genre moment. Musically, emotionally, texturally, it’s broad. And yet, for such a young artist boasting such a dynamic sound, it’s also incredibly focused.
Musically, one thing comes first when it comes to the craft of Pink Sweat$: his voice. Top to bottom, overtop silky basslines, organic percussion, playful keys, and other wavering elements that explode with the ambiance of more than a full band, but often a choir and organ that bring Sunday’s service into a listener’s headphones, the powerful sermon-esque soul of the album’s protagonist takes center stage. And why shouldn’t it? If Pink Planet is a listener’s first introduction to Pink Sweat$, they’re not too far behind. His rise to the top of the youthful pop-driven R&B generation he represents only started a couple of years ago, and it’s his voice – one defined by an indomitable range that can hit jarring John Legend lows and shattering Daniel Daley highs – that got him to hundreds of millions of streams so quickly.
But, it’s also his focus on just what kind of modern Soul-slinging crooner he wants to be, and just what kind of foundation he wants to do it all on top of, that makes him such an approachable force for such a broad audience. For Pink Sweat$, his sound is one that plays on both the instrumental prowess of timeless Soul music and the more approachable, family-friendly thematics that he explores. Stories of love – for a romantic partner, for a friend, for family, hell… for a stranger on the street, define Pink Planet at every turn, leaving the album in a Pop audience’s reach à la all-inclusive feelings fest of Ed Sheeran. But, from the City of Brotherly Love, and from an artist who has previously curated three vocally dominated EP’s, it’s also a refined exploration of Neo-Soul’s softer edges, blurring the lines with Pop Gospel. And that… well that’s just new.
For the R&B fans listening, that little something for everyone comes in the shape a vocalism. Pink Sweat$ proves at every sonic inch of the album that he’s capable of running an unparalleled pace even I a modern scene saturated with vocalists that, too, are otherworldly albeit by the shade of another color. For the Neo-Soul fans, it’s the groovy basslines and funky instrumentation that draw a timeless texture into the Pink Planet’s very soil. For the gospel fans – from which Pink Sweat$’s musical roots draw their earliest water – his upbringing in the church is more apparent than just about any other modern vocalist not strictly defining themselves to the lane. And for everyone else, it’s everything else because at its core, Pink Planet invokes Pop music at every turn, for no other reason than its broad appeal and mass approachability in a series of musical scenes that all too often garner explicit ratings.
And for that, Pink Sweat$: the young gun who would rather wrap his listeners in cotton and sing them love songs, it’s a debut that will always be defined by its ability to pull so many listeners from so many musical spectrums into one blissful near-hour of niceties, instrumentals, and gospel-fueled Soul.