R&B and Neo-Soul aren’t necessarily the first styles of music that come to mind when people think of devotional Christian music. Sure, both styles exist within the same broader musical family tree as Gospel music and from a broader perspective the soft-rock CCM that permeates most churches. But the R&B genre often has an air of secularity lingering over it that many have a hard time seeing past.
For Jose Perez and Alex Quintana, the two artists making up the R&B duo 5:19, those stereotypical distinctions fall entirely by the wayside.
The Orlando-based pair’s most recent single "Problems” dropped on September 30th of this year and perfectly sums up their songwriting approach. With lyrical content that is almost always direct and unambiguous in its spiritual goals, 5:19 manages to lay worshipful concepts overtop of very accessible, crisp, and ear-catching production. This most recent song showcases what is perhaps their most defining sonic quality--the rich baritone voices of both performers. Anyone with a deeper voice who yearns for music that is easier to sing along to will find this material placed in a very comfortable range.
"Problems" by 5:19
But "Problems" also breaks away from 5:19’s other releases this year by featuring a rap section. Previously the majority of their material featured sung vocals, the notable exception being the single “Board Game,” released in July. That song featured guest rapper Wilfredo. With Problems' movement from R&B deeper into Hip-Hop territory, 5:19 exhibit their dynamism and flexibility.
This song is their sixth single of 2023, indicating a consistent work ethic and growing repertoire of music. The previous singles, By The Hand (Jan. 31), Look (Feb. 28), Your Presence (Mar. 31), Something Good (Jun. 1), and the aforementioned Board Game (Jul. 25), all maintain a consistent sound, never taking unexpected twists and turns or unwarranted experiments. 5:19's choice to play it safe works in their favor, reinforcing their consistency. Having only started releasing music in 2022, Jose and Alex have very quickly found their lane and established a solid brand for themselves, one that many people will find very appealing. It’s still early in their journey, but 5:19 have the potential to become household favorites.
Maxwell Aka is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Toronto, and works as a fundraising writer for ADRA Canada.
Title Image: Jose Perez and Alex Quintana, the R&B Duo 5:19
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