It was back in the mid-’00s and I remember walking through Chicago with Chip E, near where he had his video production studio. We were talking about a Justin Timberlake song, which I had never heard but Chip was arguing was “clearly – CLEARLY – a house track” but which neither artist nor label nor even the (then-)formidable press had identified as such.
The point Chip was making was that the brand “house” had become somewhat toxic and monied interests were running away from it, like they’d run away from “disco” twenty-five years earlier.
Fans and artists in recent years have become more vocal about the perceived lack of respect that soulful house has gotten in the scene, running through Mixmag and DJ Mag covers and drawing their own conclusions from the absence of visible leaders in the genre. And it’s reminding me of that conversation with Chip because I listen to Moodymann, I listen to Amp Fiddler, I listen to a lot of Theo Parrish and what I hear are clearly – CLEARLY – soulful house tracks. A key difference between that conversation and this one: I don’t think any of these people have run away from the name (or any name). In some cases it might be that they’ve simply mastered the one facet that good soulful house always had in its favor: exemplary songwriting.
Slap a sticker on the label of Theo Parrish’s latest single, “This Is For You,” and you would not be far off to think it originated in the hothouse studios of Josh Milan. It’s not surprising “This Is For You” is well-produced or features an exquisite vocal via Maurissa Rose, but the songwriting is absolutely stellar. The hook is addictive and the progression from beginning to end feels preternatural, as if this song were not so much written as found as one whole.
READ MORE Theo Parrish: American Intelligence
This is reputedly the first single from Theo Parrish‘s next album. If the rest of it sounds like this, we’re in love.
Theo Parrish with Maurissa Rose: This Is For You / Sound Signature (12″ Vinyl)
A. Theo Parrish: This Is For You with Maurissa Rose
B. Theo Parrish: This Is For You (Instrumental)