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Photo credit: Nico Hernandez. Jean Dawson's press material
Photo credit: Nico Hernandez. Jean Dawson's press material

Clear Bones: a song that hits the spot in the middle of the Black Lives Matter revolution

Jean Dawson's "Clear bones" is a seemingly cheerful song with a grim message.

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A few months ago, Markus Buehler, a professor at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, a laboratory at MIT that seeks to harness artificial intelligence to solve real-life problems, published a sound model of the protein SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect cells to cause COVID-19.

The sound is strangely hypnotic and relaxing, very different from what one would expect. Professor Buehler himself said that this is a reflection of the same thing the virus does to the cells it is going to infect: it appears as something pleasant to have doors opened and once inside, what follows is a painful reality.

Something similar happens with "Clear Bones", the first single from "Pixel Bath", Jean Dawson's new album.

Perhaps because of his racial mix - being black and having been born and raised in Mexico until his early teens - or a mixture of irreverence and curiosity, Jean Dawson makes unusual mixes in his songs.

Like starting his song "Blame by me," from his Bad Sports album (2019), with the chorus of "Yo no fui," by Pedro Infante, a classic Mexican, jocular, in which a man plays innocent for the faults he knows he's committed, as with the mischief of a child, probably talking to his partner, whom he treats as if she were his mother.

And after singing:

“Si te vienen a contar 
Cositas malas de mí, 
Manda a todos a volar 
Y diles que yo no fui”.

("If they come to you and tell you
Bad things about me,
Send everyone away
And tell them I didn't do it.")

There comes a problematic and painful confession that, unlike Pedro Infante's song, does not show that the character in the song is guilty of being unfaithful, but of being part of a gang. 

See, you, later
I'm on some real shit
Don't fuck with my paper
I be on some kill shit
You don't want that fade
I'll hit a nigga real quick
I ain't the one to play with
6' 1", nigga, and I'm dangerous

And this, on top of that, contrasts with drums and guitars that are more rhythmic than melodic, frankly quiet and cheerful.

"Clear Bones" reminds us of the rock of the late 90's and early 2000's - Sum41, for example - with a calm, carefree way of singing, accompanied by his power trio as he sings to his potential killer:

Mr. Ripper would you wait on me,
Mr. Ripper I see you watching me,
Mr. Ripper you're a guarantee.

[…]

I know I’ll die,
When it’s my time
I’ll be all smiles I know

In a context such as the current one in the United States, the idea of death for a young black man born in Mexico - unfortunately - is not far off. And like the SARS-CoV-2, Jean Dawson has packed a terrible and painful reality into a gentle melody, so that one can then surprise oneself with the dread that one is humming.

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