“Pulchritude… ‘It’s derived from the latin word pulcher meaning beautiful, isn’t it?’” You know, I would have never guessed that my favourite pop song of 2022 would be titled after a word so obscure in use that the only reason I know the word is because of my obsession with Akeelah and The Bee growing up. Whether intentional or not, it’s a fitting connection because just like Akeelah, Manana is a poetic wordsmith with an encyclopedic range of words at his disposal. Pulchritudinous finds him showcasing this lyrical dexterity in an effort to find the right words to capture this person he’s fallen for but he can’t; because words can’t do them justice.
Pulchritudinous is a mesmerizingly larger than life ballad that grows effervescent the more it builds. Manana delivers a subdued and simmering lead vocal that captures the introspective nature of the song whilst the ethereal layers of harmonies sweep you with delicate intensity. Both Manana and the production take their time in building and expressing emotion. The second verse is literally one sentence intensified to euphoric heights as Manana pleads: “Stay here I beg you, hold to infinity with me.” Manana stretches ‘infinity’ with an avalanche of sweeping harmonies as an electric guitar quietly smoulders in the background, the dramatic drums only grow more epic as the verse launches into the bridge.
Pulchritudinous is cooked to perfection! Manana, Noble & Maxonproduction were firing on all cylinders; an endearing concept that’s beautifully written, intricately arranged & breathtakingly delivered. I could go on about how Manana is one of the most captivating lyricists of his generation or how Noble continue to be involved in creating supple and cinematic pop but I really just might run out of words. So simply put, Pulchritudinous makes me happy; so so happy.
Read the full Top 22 of 2022 here. Read more Manana related content here, Noble here.
Listen to Noble’s Next Gen Greats’ Podcast on Manana’s In the beginning was the end here.