What defines a man? A woman? A human? A lingering question that every individual has faced, trying to uphold to a definition of what and who they should be. Los Angeles-based artist Oktavian explores this concept through vivid expressions of diverse emotions, honest depth, and a refreshing sense of realism on his latest single “Man’s Man.” The track’s chopped and skewed heart of R&B flourishes against a bed of electronic beats which swim smoothly upon delivery of a soulful echo.
“Man’s Man” recalls traits of Oktavian’s father, which cultivated him to the ideal of a “real man”; acting as a constant reminder of how Oktavian should be. The track’s interchangeable line of “standards” resurfaces as a past haunt through self-talk: “Never be afraid to cry, don’t be afraid to cry / ’cause it proves you can feel / try to be a man’s man, like my old man / but it’s so damn hard sometimes / …and it kills me when she cries.”
The immense control Oktavian contains to capture a moment and a listener seems otherworldly, while the depth of purity cannot be properly explained. Upon this bed of driving and slow-tempo electronic base, a lingering guitar waits in the back, ready for the build. Transcendence keys skid across, peaking in as rays of hope and provide a lighter sense to the production. Oktavian’s falsetto matches the rising build until distorted chords reveal themselves fully and fall inwards to their peaceful ending.
Aside from musically reaching a platform of well-crafted sounds, the reflected beauty comes into the light through the context. Of all repeated lines, the primary visual component are the focus on tears, hindering the true weight of them.
Intimately being exposed, the bare skin Oktavian wears is the most refreshing thing to hear and see in an artist. Musically cultivated to perfection, Oktavian is an artist whose passion and wounds become a listener’s best friend.