Upon first hearing “Under The Pressure”, the 2014 song by the Philadelphia-based band The War on Drugs, a picture comes to mind.
But the immediate first thought was that this was the best Jackson Browne song I never heard. And that’s meant as a compliment.
It has that feeling of Southern California emptiness and dysfunction you read about (or Hollywood portrays). The reality is that emptiness and dysfunction occur everywhere, but hey, it’s better presented in a convertible, going down the 101, with a beautiful sunset over the Pacific.
This song is a perfect complement to the FM rock of Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, and The Eagles. And these guys are from Philly!!!
I really don’t have much to say on this one. I’ll just say these songs are ubiquitous. You can hear them anywhere—YouTube, the car, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, the supermarket, the dentist’s office, ahem, the elevator. OK that’s enough. .
There is a time and place for this music and everyone’s is different. That’s what makes music amazing, and that is why these nuggets will always be on one of my playlists.
This won’t take long. These songs are about 35 years a part, and it’s possible (depending on your demographic and taste) you might like either, both or neither.
Rarely do we get into lyrics here, but both of these songs go into undefined intimate relationships. There is something going on here–we don’t know if it’s love, but there is DEFINITELY something up. Some might call it sketchy, friends with benefits, adulterous, we just don’t know. It’s the murk that many of us don’t experience but all of us are 1 degree of separation away from someone in that mode.
In both “Hotline Bling” by Drake and “Take It On The Run” by REO Speedwagon, the message is:
There’s something going on between us (undefined), something has changed, and now you’re doing something with someone or some other people, I don’t know exactly what’s going on, I’m not officially condemning it, but at one point my passive aggressiveness will plummet this whole relationship if it keeps up.
Someone else can do the psychology around it, I just found it interesting the whole half-committed shot across the bow that both of these songs provide.
I’ve got a lot of respect for the blues, but don’t carry much in the arsenal. The main reason is I’m a song guy, and a lot of the blues are based on one riff that keeps plowing throughout the song. I do like it, and especially like it in a live setting but it doesn’t necessarily make it one of my playlists.
Which brings me to Fantastic Negrito. I can listen to his material all day. If you haven’t heard “Lost in a Crowd” or “An Honest Man”, click on the link above and below.
This to me, is blues, but they are well crafted songs as well, not just a jam. There are 3 things done great by the Fantastic One (can I call you that?): 1) Excellent soulful vocals with intensity–nothing casual here, 2)Nice riffs, and 3) my favorite- well written lyrics and the composition of a song.
This all sounds obvious like the ABC’s of making a great song, but it’s great to hear it in a blues setting. Needless to say the Fantastic Negrito is in my playlists now.
Assuming you’re reading this, please follow this experiment with me: