Already a mantra of self-worth, James Reid and Yuna come together to transform Dance Like Nobody’s Watching from testament of truth to interlude of intimacy in isolation.
When Mark Twain first wrote the long enduring wisdom of liberation, “dance like nobody’s watching,” he didn’t likely imagine how far his words would reach in the scope of time. Sure, it was an overarching reminder to realize one’s full potential without being discouraged, but the advice has lent itself mighty well as a precedent for spontaneity and expression of self-worth. From a mantra whispered under one’s breath at a time of introspective crisis to letting it all out in a sticky and sweaty dance floor to the settled chasm the bedroom, this legacy of a line has resonated even more in our crisis-filled and anxiety-riddled realities as of late.
Perfectly encapsulating what the past year in variations of isolation has been like, Malaysian singer and songwriter, Yuna, furthers the conversation that has taken full space of our hearts and minds. A manifestation of inexplicable feelings bursting at the seams, usually at a god-awful hour in the wee hours of the morning when the darkness closes in, Dance Like Nobody’s Watching is a clear contrast to the pervasive thoughts that are ultimately unsettling. Functioning as a turning point for the emotionally inebriated, the musical exposition is a gentle groove as opposed to an aggressive gasp of air that is characteristic of waking to consciousness. Mellow in its approach, with ambient synths, tempered basslines, and graceful orchestrations, the song is an expression of empathy as it as a philosophical journey, which is categorically indicative of the times we are in.
Already a perfect song to cap what was a year of pure chaos and challenges, Yuna expands the soaring sentiment of Dance Like Nobody’s Watching even further, this time with a captivating remix featuring our very own, James Reid.
It’s The Remix Starring James Reid and Yuna
While most songs are typically built to meet a conclusive end, the democratic musical repertoire of the R&B songstress extends itself to anyone who can bond with the story she is telling. So far, Yuna has collaborated with the illustrious likes of Usher, Tyler The Creator, Masego, Jay Park, and now, James Reid. With a song that is begging for a connection, the full stop punctuation of Dance Like Nobody’s Watching now explores a smooth sensual sequence, becoming an interlude of intimacy.
In this symphony of swaying rhythm and honeyed vocalization, the ambient song graduates from a mantra of singular self-discovery and self-empowerment to a passionate progression of partnership. “No need for distraction / Or an intervention / I’ve figured it all out / To leave it all behind,” she sings with full resolve, standing firm in her independence. And just as the chorus breaks into a conviction of freedom, she laces in a statement of strength: “Cause you won’t be the one to save me.”
Navigating through the aftermath of her awakening, James Reid steps through the shrapnel of emotions, and makes a persuasive please for close contact. “Something tells me / That we’re gonna be alright / The trick is to keep / Moving your body,” he sings in his signature breathy vocals. “When I see now / Your love is blinding /Your body’s reaching out / But your heart is silent / Come on hear me out / Girl I’m tryin’ / Take my hand / We can dance like nobody’s watching.”
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Despite the underlying and unyielding opposite in their lyrical reflections, Yuna and James Reid come together quite beautifully in the remix. As the song chips away at each other’s contemplations and subtext, the chorus is a sweet and spirited coalition that underscores their shared sentiment: to just let loose and let go. For a song that operates on the proposition of give and take, there is a necessary demand for dexterity to make this musical tug of war to work. With its elements of lyrical push and pull, James Reid and Yuna complement each other well, their artistic liberties making the most sense even until the song fades out.
It may have been a tall order, but Yuna, together with James Reid managed to turn the lofty legacy of Mark Twain into a warm and winsome declaration of truth and thoughts. In this conversation many of us have had in our lifetimes, with tears falling, hearts breaking, and love fading the solution is made clear. Whether alone or together, just dance like nobody’s watching.