1500 Or Nothin’s Infectious “Girl” – Music Monday

I just binged my way through the first season of HBO’s Insecure. I had heard good things about the show. I did not anticipate how much I would love Insecure’s soundtrack. It took me forever to get through the first season because I kept googling the music in every episode. One song from the series blew me away: 1500 or Nothin’s “Girl.”

1500 or Nothin’ make an appearance in the fourth episode of Insecure. They are the band playing in the background as Molly and her date dance at a club. As they sway, the  smooth opening notes of the song “Girl” drift across the floor.

The music set the mood for the “perfect date” vibe. The seductive chords add to the romance of the scene. It was a great choice for the episode.

The only downside is that the music is cut short for the scene. The song is seven-plus minutes of heaven. As “Girl” progresses it becomes a soulful explosion that combines amazing guitar and drum grooves. Three-and-a-half minutes in, the guitarist unleashes an epic solo. The instantly timeless track is capped by a wonderful jam that is a must-listen for R&B fans.

 1500 or Nothin’s “Girl” vs. The Internet’s “Girl”

“Girl” is a cover of a song by The Internet and Kaytranada. The single appeared on their  2015 album Ego Death. The R&B group’s original is a hazy laid-back effort that is helped by mysterious vocals from Kaytranada. The Internet’s track is closer to a contemporary pop sound than 1500 or Nothin’s cover.

I like The Internet’s version, but 1500 or Nothin’ take “Girl’ to the next level. I lean more towards throwback R&B than current pop and the cover fits more with my musical sensibilities.

1500 or Nothin’ is a collective based out of Los Angeles. They produce records by artists like Cee Lo Green and Frank Ocean. “Girl” is the only song by 1500 or Nothin’ currently on Spotify.

Molly and her date being serenaded by 1500 Or Nothin's "Girl"
Molly and her date being serenaded by 1500 Or Nothin’s “Girl” on HBO’s Insecure

The sound that 1500 or Nothin’ wields in Insecure reminds of some live cuts that I have heard from the show’s music curator, Raphael Saadiq.

Raphael Saadiq And The Insecure Soundtrack

I should not be surprised at how much I love the Insecure soundtrack. The music is selected by Raphael Saadiq, a genius neo-soul musician who has a golden touch.

His musical sensibilities are all over the soundtrack of Insecure. Many of the songs, particularly the soul and R&B tracks, sneak into their scenes. They provide an appropriate finish to Issa Rae’s story. Saadiq even included his own song, “Still Ray,” in the first episode.

Saadiq’s output since leaving TonyToniToné! has been amazing. Even though he has not released a new album since 2011’s Stone Rollin’, Saadiq has been productive since that record. He received an Academy Award nomination for Mudbound. He also produced Solange Knowles’ chart-topper A Seat At The Table.

He is finally breaking his discography’s eight-year drought with his new album Jimmy Lee. Saadiq has described Jimmy Lee as being “experimental.” I can’t wait for this album. As was the case with Stone Rollin’, the record will be a must-listen as soon as it drops.

Insecure’s Season One Soundtrack

Outside of 1500 or Nothin’s “Girl,” my other favorite songs from the first season are:

“Conflict Of A Man” – Erimaj, Episode Four

“Them Changes” – Thundercat, Episode Four

“You Lift Me Up” – Russoul, Episode Seven

“Cherry Bomb” – Fringe Character, Episode Seven

“I Wanta Do Something Freaky To You” – Leon Haywood, Episode Eight

As for Insecure itself, I love the writing on the show. Issa Rae’s characters stayed fresh throughout the first run of episodes. It is a great short season show. The eight episodes are just enough to get a feel for the characters, but not so long that their personal lives oversaturate the story.

In addition to 1500 or Nothin’s “Girl,” you can find the complete list of songs for Insecure’s Season One soundtrack here.

 

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