Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we return our gaze once again to songwriter Charles Luck and his collective of talented artists over at Black Astronaut. For nearly two years now, Luck’s releases have been recurring features here on the Spotlight, best recognizable for their razor sharp lyricism, fantastic use of samples, and a rotating cast of great featured artists. Today, we look at ‘The Stairway,’ a Luck-penned song performed by Fiberoptic and Pastor C.
Luck, ever the fascinating songwriter, wrote ‘The Stairway’ after receiving a poem from a suicidal girl at a Waffle House early in the morning last year. The track explores the idea of climbing up or down the ‘stairway to heaven,’ and what doing so means for someone. One’s actions lead to their judgement at the end of the path, the song argues, and only they can take control of that. Oddly enough, the sample at play here isn’t ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ but rather, ‘Dream On.’ Yes, Black Astronaut has made the only cool sampling of Aerosmith under the sun. It’s a beautifully executed sample that fits the song perfectly.
For a song inspired by a suicidal girl’s poetry, ‘The Stairway’ is centralized largely around self-empowerment. While the subject of the tune sometimes feels invisible to others, their presence empowers those around them. One must wonder what kind of poem the girl wrote, and whether or not ‘The Stairway’ is Luck’s response to it and its author. It’s a song that stares self-doubt in the face and punches back. There’s a fire to ‘The Stairway’ that’s invigorating.
Fiberoptic and Pastor C give masterful performances on the track and the whole production is superb, too. The ‘Dream On’ sample is focused entirely around the memorable Aerosmith guitar riff, which works well for the tune. Ultimately, that sample helps round out the song into a classic Black Astronaut track. Thoughtful, provocative lyricism and recognizable samples reimagined in exciting new ways are both hallmarks of the collective’s work, and they’re both here in spades.
‘The Stairway’ is well worth a listen; tune into it below on SoundCloud. Charles Luck and his Black Astronaut collective have another excellent addition to their catalog worth writing home about.