When Macklemore and Ryan Lewis scored a major hit with Thrift Shop, I was a bit worried about their lasting appeal. There’s no doubt that they’re incredibly talented, but Thrift Shop has the same kind of novelty appeal that songs like Gangnam Style and Call Me Maybe had. Essentially, its a case of “is the song more popular than the artist?” As such, the duo’s follow up single definitely has something to prove. Luckily, the second official single, Can’t Hold Us, really does raise the bar.
This song’s quality lies in the depth of its lyrics. Macklemore has gotten his share of shade from hip-hop purists…mostly due to his complexion and his breakout success. While he could have fired back with a diss track, Can’t Hold Us sends a message of strength and gratitude. To those who complain about the “whitening of hip-hop,” Macklemore rises above and cleverly responds “I shed my skin and put my bones into everything I record to it, And yet I’m on.” Well played, good sir!
|Ryan Lewis getting in touch with his fans…|
Can’t Hold Us is a celebration of Macklemore’s achievement. However, the spit-fire rapper knows what got him to this point. Not only was it his hard work and dedication, but his fans and his hometown of Seattle. He graciously thanks them through his rapid-fire verses and invites them to join in the celebration! Its a message of unity and strength that resonates deeply.
Adding to the sense of strength is Ryan Lewis’s top notch production. Can’t Hold Us isn’t exactly a dance song, and yet it simply explodes with energy! The song’s jaunty piano melody can really get people moving, but its the marching beat, dramatic horns, and rousing back up vocals that ensure the song’s impact is absolutely huge. I’ve seen this song make dancefloors go wild, proving that a techno beat is no longer required to stir up a crowd!
|I…I have no idea what this is…|
Finally, the song climaxes in a rousing chorus, courtesy of tennis instructor-turned-breakout-star, Ray Dalton. His gospel inspired singing is powerful and dramatic as he calls on you to “Put our hands up, like the ceiling can’t hold us!” It’s a chorus that rousing, energetic, and instantly unforgettable!
Can’t Hold Us isn’t the humorous playground romp that Thrift Shop was. No, this song is so much more! Ryan Lewis’s flawless production is huge and dramatic, Ray Dalton’s guest vocals are powerful, and Macklemore’s rapping is simply genius. This song is a true testament of the duo’s pure talent, and proves that they will indeed be a force in the hip-hop community for years to come.