by Mike Scarfo
Massachusetts-based indie artist Maeko is simply a jack-of-all-trades. He’s proven an ability to execute contemporary, sad-boy styled sounds on his moody, introspective 2020 EP Good Grief. His most recent single, “Lifelike” with fellow Boston vocalist Sleeping Bela, showcases his brilliance as an emcee through passionate double-time flows, and an undeniable vivacity that radiates through speakers. The heaviness of these releases portray the compromised mindset Maeko was in last year, a sentiment that most of us can probably relate to on some level.
Now, Maeko returns with a newfound energy in his first release of 2021 with “Capricorn”, featuring rising Queens, NY musician Hadji Gaviota. The soundscape of “Capricorn” is synonymous with the impending spring season on the East Coast, perfectly capturing feelings of warmth and brightness, a sound that’s been lost in Maeko’s discography for some time. As we slowly work towards a “new normal” as a society, the guitar-driven indie pop smash feels like a beautiful rebirth and breath of fresh air.
The smooth, sultry vibe of “Capricorn'' conveys how versatile Maeko’s musical ability is, but ultimately it’s the combination of charisma and relatability within his lyrics that stands out most. There’s an element of easy-going bliss in his tone, as Maeko croons the impulsivities of possibly “dying [his] hair orange” and living his life in a carefree nature. He reflects on taking a step back from the everyday grind in an attempt to improve his inner perspective, yet acknowledges his psyche is still a home for unwanted thoughts and insecurities from time to time. He utilizes metaphorical language, comparing his mind to that of a neighborhood, as he details: “And it’s a fact that my mind can be a dangerous neighborhood / But I still walk in it late at night / And all I ask, don’t box me in I don’t do labels good / cause I tried that once upon a time”. Maeko also achieves gorgeous harmonies in the song’s accessible hook, further reiterating carefree themes through imagery of “making your problems go up in smoke”, and simple nuances of life such as “taking a swim” or “working remote”.
Hadji Gaviota adds lyrical elements that relay similar themes of picking yourself up when you’re down, highlighting a break-up that deeply affected him. The opening lines within his verse emphasize the continuation of the song’s clever writing: “Thought you knew I was a Baggitarius / When you threw me in the bag, like Terius”, a subtle reference to longtime R&B star The-Dream. Pair that with Gaviota’s catchy vocal cadences, and there is nothing not to love about this song.
The joyful and serene “Capricorn” should be a staple in your spring and summer playlists as we look forward to brighter days ahead.
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