The success story of Theophilus London is forever puzzling to me. The Jam mixtape brought the adoration, but at the price of hitching his wagon to a King of Pop classic, making a dismissal of his brand as trendy for nostalgia the easiest of assumptions. But now that he's got our attention, the career arc is far off from coat-tailing. Theophilus is sky miles ahead of our every inference and I am still uncertain as to how he got there so quick.
How does one go from making “music for boutique people” to jet-setting around the world in two years time? As charmed as I was by the Elvis Costello reference cover, I was not sold on the Theophilus hypemachine until I heard I Want You. Suddenly, I heard an artist with dedication to crafting a style all his own, in which the influences are not the selling point, but subtle cues within the music that familiarize his brand.
Its never been just the music with Theophilus, but for me at least, the process in which I respond to his work has shifted. Before, I looked at the fashion choices, the aesthetic and let that shape my interpretation of Theophilus. But I was also seeking the missteps due to a distrust in accepting his music as the focal point. But with each new single, Theophilus is less deliberate sonically and aesthetically. Following up the propulsive “Calypso Blues”, his latest single is seeking shelter from the street party in a dark basement club. If we're to believe there's a continued storyline in his music, Theophilus is a starstruck lover. A song ago, he's distraught, but all it takes is a “Fatal Attraction” and he's back on his feet Moonwalking around his newest interest.