Judging by his Facebook posts, Luke Boyd—better known as Classified—has been doing his share of reflecting lately, so allow me to indulge for a moment in some of my own. We’ll get to his latest single, the tumbler-of-whiskey-at-night-flavoured “Wonder,” but first, I want to tell you about how a song is like magic. And to do that, I need to confess to a minor crime from long ago.
I was 17 years old when Classified’s Self Explanatory came out—which is to say, old enough to buy it. I didn’t. I borrowed it from the Waterloo Public Library and copied it onto my parents’ living room computer. Then, I burned it onto a CD that lived in my family’s Dodge Caravan until… well, I don’t know. They sold the van. For all I know, it’s still in the glove compartment. That album became my go-to. I loved the rawness of it; the candour of it—the fact that he could pivot from rapping about being “fresher than Dentyne on a ten-speed, shopping at Frenchys” to sharing that he “never talked until I was three years old” and had a speech impediment “that kept me in the cold.” It was relatable. Familiar.
Over the years, it seemed like Self Explanatory followed me. Or maybe it grew with me. It was playing on the night my best friend vomited in the backseat of the Dodge after one too many. (Thanks for that!) It played on summer trips to Lake Huron. It played, too, on the long drive my wife and I took from Cap-d’Espoir to Halifax, as we arrived, newly married, in our new home province. It still plays from time to time. I like that it takes me back every time—like a bookmark in the pages of life.
Classified’s “Wonder” is a little like that, too. Twenty-five years into Boyd’s career, it’s refreshing to see him still thinking out loud on the page.
“Sometimes I wonder why I still make music… is it for myself? Is it for the fans/ listeners? Is it to prove that I can still do this?” he asks in a Facebook post. “I know I tried to retire a few times cause I didn't think I had anything else to write about or bring to the music world. But as life went on and I grew up more, new ideas [and] songs would pop into my head… I think I’m realizing now that being creative and making music and having that outlet is what keeps me excited about it.
“I have a hard time sitting still, always have, and music was that thing that always let me slow down and reflect on life and what it is to me. It gave me purpose, and I think that’s something we all need.”
Indeed we do.
“Wonder” comes as Classified’s second single in the lead-up to an as-yet-unnamed album. Watch the music video below.