Over the course of a few short years, R&B trio Sonder suddenly emerged to offer a handful of some of the best R&B we had heard in ages, including their phenomenal 2017 EP, Into. Sadly, just like their brand of hazy R&B, the trio stepped back into the ether as quickly as they emerged. The sudden radio silence from Sonder was likely to allow vocalist Brent Faiyaz, who made up the trio alongside producers Atu and Dpat, time to focus on his solo project that was taking off at the same time. Whatever the reason may be, 2019 has seen the return of Sonder’s otherworldly take on R&B, and we are here for every moment of it.
“What You Heard” follows just after the one-year anniversary of the trio’s last release, the standout single “One Night Only,” and sees Sonder as flawless as ever. The minimalistic production and crafted dreamscape of “What You Heard” is in stark contrast to any notions of excess found in any other works of R&B. The production, courtesy of Atu and Dpat, swirls and envelops to create an experience akin to floating gently through space, with the only propelling force being the arresting vocal prowess of Faiyaz.
The constant questioning of Faiyaz’s ethereal coos reaches out towards an unseen, unattainable lover. “You be wildin’, I be wildin’ too/ But not like you, shit, maybe a little like you/ Maybe we ain’t so different, maybe I be trippin’ too,” Faiyaz’s back-and-forth self-exchange hangs in the air before Sonder delves into the chorus and demonstrates their talent for creating their own self-contained worlds in their songs. Changing up the pace of things before “What You Heard” wraps, Sonder bridges two distinctive musical ideas into a singular, cohesive bout of R&B that is nigh-perfection.
Listen to “What You Heard” below: