Watch: Mykki Blanco feat. Michael Stipe - Family Ties
Enigmatic musician & performance artist teams up with legendary R.E.M. vocalist in delightfully unexpected collab
In today’s edition of musical collabs we didn’t know we needed… the inimitable Mykki Blanco with one of the most iconic voices of the 80s and 90s, Michael Stipe of R.E.M. teaming up for the delectably chill Family Ties!
Keeping with the surprises, known for their lyrical prowess as an MC, this is the first track we’ve ever heard Blanco sing on and it’s an absolute treat, sonically not sitting too far from Stipes, with the two complimenting each other immensely. Musically the track is a bittersweet driving indie number, subtle enough to keep Blanco & Stipe as the centre of attention while being layered enough to reward multiple listens.
Of the track, Blanco says "I wrote this song about the relationship between my ex boyfriend and his father that has had bouts of mental illness. When the person you love is going through a situation that you can't alter in any way, or help or be active in trying to correct it not only hurts them but it hurts you. I didn't always have the best relationship with my father like so many people, it's ebbed and it's flowed with love and frustration at times.
I think the core meaning of this song is compassion in the face of helplessness. It's sad I know, it's extremely sad but the song is an expression of what it is to feel helpless when you truly just want to be loving, be compassionate and the realization that sometimes as painful as it is just "being" present is all you can do for those that you love."
Family Ties arrives alongside a black-and-white clip that features Stipe with a focus on compassionate, nurturing relationships like fatherhood and brotherhood in difficult times - emotional stuff, check it out.