Hear Smokey Robinson's and Anderson .Paak's Collaboration 'Make It Better' On a track from the forthcoming Ventura, Anderson .Paak weathers the stormy trials of a romance that's long departed from honeymoon avenue.
NPR logo Anderson .Paak Links With Smokey Robinson For The Exquisitely Smooth 'Make It Better'

Anderson .Paak Links With Smokey Robinson For The Exquisitely Smooth 'Make It Better'

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Somehow, until today, Anderson .Paak — the beloved crooner-multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire who's stretching out R&B into jazzier, funkier inflections — hadn't cut a track with an icon from the bygone Motown era.

Enter Smokey Robinson, the soul legend-turned-label exec, who lends his voice on .Paak's latest single. Fresh off a Grammy win and "King James," the first glimpse from his new album Ventura, "Make It Better" is a plea to weathering the stormy trials of a romance that's long departed from honeymoon avenue.

"Make It Better" has the makings of a modern soul classic. As .Paak sings of falling "right out of touch" with his partner, Robinson offers silky-smooth reassurance with his harmonies, accentuating the plush bed of strings that fills the track.

"And it's easier to run away / Than to look for what would make you stay," he sighs, recognizing the hard work that's required in long-term fidelity and commitment. The Andy Hines-directed visual reflects the challenge, documenting the thick and thin of .Paak and his partner, right down to the first glances.