Song review: Linger
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Date of Release: March, 2014
Reviewer: Erised (abuse me on twitter @GiaccAttack)
OhhhhhHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh yeah. That’s the shit right there. If there has been something that we’ve been severely lacking in submissions wise in these 6 months that IPHYB has been around, it’s definitely good Pop tunes. I’m an absolute sucker for well done Alt/Pop and these guys have got me hook, line and heavily-weighted sinker.
So what makes a good Pop tune? Well, it’s an interesting one, really. A lot of people get really reductive when it comes to the art of creating good Pop music. Some people even consider “good Pop music” to be an oxymoron, but you won’t hear that from me. For me, the elements of a truly “good” Pop tune are very, very similar to what I consider to be the basic tenets of a good song in general. We’ll go through them in this review and you’ll see exactly why this song ticks practically every box.
First, we require a good voice, because regardless of how well written the song is, if the singer is shit most people are probably going to hate the fuck out of it. This particular cat sounds eerily similar to Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic fame and he also shares a few exceptional qualities as well. Ryan Tedder is very well known for his amazing range and control over his falsetto and this guy is not far behind him. He may not quite be capable of the jaw-dropping vocal acrobatics that Tedder is (listen to the back half of “Tyrant” if you don’t believe me) but he is still in possession of a mighty fine falsetto nonetheless. His head voice tone is rich and soulful with some absolutely gorgeous vibrato to further sweeten the deal. I could listen to this guy sing allllll night long and still be interested to the last quivering note.
Secondly, a capable backing band is essential. As you would expect, there isn’t anything technically profound going on here, but what IS going on is the sort of tight musicianship that I would equate with seasoned veterans of the music scene. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if these guys make their regular crust as session musos, especially the bass-player who displays some formidable chops throughout the course of this tune. The lead guitar work over the top is minimalist without detracting from the quality of the song and he really understands dynamics exceptionally well. Just when you think “I feel there should be some lead here” BAM! There it is. Absolutely perfect for this style, no question.
I brushed past the bass earlier, but it really deserves it’s own write up. Attention every fucking band we’ve ever reviewed (bar a select few): Instead of parading around like a freshly lobotomised rhesus monkey that’s been ill-advisedly handed a bass guitar, how about you take some cues from this guy and actually learn the art of counter-melody and how to pin a groove without having to sit on the fucking root note. THIS is bass playing. THIS is actually bringing value to your band instead of licking windows and eating paint chips like the majority of bass-players out there.
The drums are also on point for this genre. They are laid back and in the pocket, really concentrating on bringing out the best in the rest of the band. Not much in the way of flashy fills here, but it really isn’t necessary at all. There IS a couple of quicker tom phrases and snare breakouts towards the bridge, which is a perfect way to really cement the idea that the bridge is the change-up. Really tidy in all respects.
As is my custom, I’ve left the most important element ’til last. Songwriting. It seems to be the bane of a lot of bands’ existences, but these guys certainly have no problems whatsoever in crafting an engaging song. There really isn’t much in the way of cliché either, which is really just even more impressive. The lyrics are absolutely astonishing. Lyrics are almost always the weakest part of a Pop tune, and these guys have most certainly broken tradition in that respect. “Always half a drink from being free/sometimes it feels like you do it to yourself” and “Pick apart the good intent, You know all these habits end up using you” are poignant reflections on the state of an alcoholic and I’m sure they will cut a little to close to home for anyone who’s a little too fond of their drink. Back to the songwriting itself though. The chorus is memorable, both in content and melody. That doesn’t happen all that often really and when it’s backed up by the strength of the verses in this tune, these guys are definitely on to a winner.
So to sum up, this song is astoundingly good. It’s so dense for a Pop song and you find yourself noticing more little details every time you press play. The play counter tells me I’ve listened to this song 15 times in the course of this review and I’ve only JUST noticed the subtle background swells as the chorus subsides. What you have here is the blueprint for what I wish was the standard of all Pop songs. If all Pop was THIS good, I wouldn’t have cause to bag out some of the more cynical and less talented exponents. Good thing they have good writers then, isn’t it?
Overall IPHYB Rating: 9/10
Enjoyment Factor: 9.5/10
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Chris Giacca just may be the worst writer in the world, but it doesn't matter because he probably still has a bigger audience than you, so he is by default automatically right about everything. No exceptions. He's currently writing a novel which will be uploaded in single chapter installments as spoken word on bandcamp. Physical releases will be on laser disc only, limited to 17 1/2 units. Don't ask about the half.
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