I wasn't familiar with Elijah Waters until this evening. That's my fault. After listening to his newest single ”Grey,” I'm now unmistakably familiar with this genre-breaking talent whose Spotify library swallowed me whole. At first, I detected hints of artists like Joji, Anderson .Paak, James Blake, and Lance Skiiiwalker. But the deeper I dove in, the more I found myself writing down the word "peerless" in the notes app of my iPhone. Waters released a series of singles in 2020, including his biggest hit to date, “Lose Control,” while the majority of this year operated as an ellipsis leading into “Grey.”
To try and find any musical Venn diagrams for “Grey” seems an impossible task — it's more like a John Hughes film and a Van Gogh painting stirred into a three-minute ballad. The drums are gripping and the synths are relieving considering the context of the lyrics. There are almost too many universal emotions to keep track of — in the best way imaginable. It can be an allegory for pandemic-induced anxieties: thinking about what once was and where things went wrong. It's also a chaotic way of embracing the unpredictability of day-to-day life, while conversely experiencing a constant battle of refusing mundanity in a day-and-age where we see less and less of the natural world. A return to the dark. A head bobbing up and down beneath a dirty pool containing more spilled liquor than chlorine without goggles — not drowning, but just treading enough to get by.