This may seem like a flippant headline but it feels startlingly accurate (though we would say that). Written in 1971 and marking the shift of Marvin Gaye from Motown factory artist to stand-alone musical figurehead, “What’s Goin’ On?” was written directly as a response to police brutality, questioning how society on turned on itself in such a fierce, hateful manner. The song hit a powerful chord, it goes without saying, named in Rolling Stones most recent poll of ‘greatest songs ever written’ at number four and transcending race, genre and time in terms of its universal appeal. Of course, subject matter aside, it would be a classic song if it was just about gardening but the combination of style and substance has rarely been challenged in terms of classiness. This was not bandwagon-jumping, it was truly heartfelt.
I Am Tru Starr is not Marvin Gaye, neither are we suggesting it could happen but what he has done is to capture perfectly a moment in time which truly feels defining. The recent demonstrations and anger felt against institutionalised racism in society is not a passing trend – we have reached a point what there has to be change, whatever the short-term cost. “Something’s Gotta Change” encapsulates this with a restrained magnificence. It is not glib, nor trite, neither does it lack in musical quality at the expense of lyrical power. Based in Las Vegas, I Am Tru Starr is geographically at the heart of some of the worst human rights atrocities in America. Check it out here and prepare to be moved.