Listen: Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars "Mirror"

There's a reason Lil Wayne has been a big force in music the past few years. He's a rapper who understands the need to balance entertainment with honesty. Sure, he's released a few singles that are nothing more than sex metaphors, but even those wind up having a few clever lyrics that rise above a lot of contemporary music. Lil Wayne feat Bruno Mars "Mirror""Mirror" is one Lil Wayne's more serious moments. The song is, predictably, about reflection. He's reading through his own persona to get through to a deeper truth about himself. What made Lil Wayne the person he is? Why all those tattoos, that viewpoint, those choices?

To his credit, Lil Wayne does not fall into bland and self-centered introspection. The song never gets more personal than the third verse, which barely reveals anything.

Looking at me now, I can see my past Damn, I look just like my [redacted] Dad ...I see my Mama's smile, that's a blessing

Even though "Mirror" is clearly a personal song for Lil Wayne, he avoids the pitfall of going too personal. He takes a step back from his own life, experiences, and problems. When you start writing specifically about your own life, you can come across as self important or out of touch. It can sound like whining. People can be turned off instantly in a format as short as a song. Lil Wayne looks into his own life at a surface level that is easily accessible for a wide audience.

The production of "Mirror" is simple. A synthesizer--patched to sound like the cross between a string ensemble and a chorus--plays long sustained chords over a simple drum machine. Lil Wayne sticks to his low speaking range. He's not exactly whispering, but he's not projecting his sound much, either. Bruno Mars is pushed to his upper range, singing a variation of the synth chord progression as a hook.

Lil Wayne feat. Bruno Mars "Mirror"The draw of "Mirror" is not the chorus, but the verses, which is becoming something of a trademark for Lil Wayne. You'll learn the hook quickly. That's not even a question. What's interesting is how quickly you'll want to absorb his verses.

It's almost the reverse of some of his contemporaries. Lil Wayne's choruses are simply a catchy phrase to help you identify the song, not the driving force of what people remember. His verses are where he makes the effort to be sharp, pithy, and memorable. The result is a mid-tempo song that will surely do well on the charts with the push of the music video.

One bad word sneaks through in the third verse.

Thoughts? Love to hear them

The Link Rally: 2 February 2012

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