"Lost & Found" by 1-O.A.K. should be taught in a master class for crafting the perfect pop song.
Between the way the track's bouncing bass line ebbs and flows to create tension; 1-O.A.K.'s effortless switch-ups from rap-singing to climactic falsetto; and lines like "My baby sneaker game wet / But she heartbreaking in a dress," the Oakland artist nails the golden ratio of familiarity and surprise that can take a track from catchy to anthemic. Were it released by a major label, it'd easily have made it onto a lot more year-end lists than this humble local one.
The lead single isn't the only captivating thing about 1-O.A.K.'s Riding in Cars With Girls, a sophisticated sophomore album that dabbles in various R&B tendencies to create forward-thinking sounds with just the right dose of warmth and nostalgia. There's the dreamy sway of "It's Time," which rocks along to an Aaliyah sample, and "Nature," with its plucky guitar evoking the jazzy instrumentation of Sade. The entire album, in fact, has a retro, sepiatone sheen, steeped in a strong tonic of Curtis Mayfield and Zapp & Roger records. But electronic flourishes -- like the tiny chorus of high-pitched "heys" in "Lost & Found" -- make it feel very of-the-now.