The Nashville artist offers an upbeat yet poignant set of new releases entitled Songs I Found In The Year I Lost, that you didn’t know you needed to add to your playlists until now.
I’d specifically suggest adding Small Talk to your ‘Walking to Work’ playlist; a perfect light accompaniment to start your day. The EP was released on October 14th and is adding to his growing collection of music, including the 2016 Walls EP and a double release titled ‘Like Love’ in the summer of 2020.
James’ vocals are consistently strong and suits his chosen keys exceptionally well, showing his singing strengths at their best. The collection of songs; Sober, Making It Up, In The Back Of My Mind, Small Talk and We Can Be Heroes establishes a very talented songwriter who can create depth in his lyric writing and demonstrates a good ear for musical accompaniment.
Sober is a pop-centred thematic tale asking, “How come we never do this s*** when we are sober?”. Discussing a range of instances, emotions, and scenarios, the song remains high in tempo throughout, but James softens the vocals at points to add range and depth to the lyrics. There is an alteration to pace around two-thirds of the way through Sober where the chorus is repeated but the tempo is restrained. This adds a reflective tone to the above question which shifts the perspective within the narrative. Lyrics such as, “Some way we will find a way, to make the same mistakes”, are relatable and present a humorous element to the times in life that no matter what we do, the outcome seems to always remain the same.
Making It Up
Making It Up hits home for anyone who feels like they are “making it up as [they] go on”. It reminds me of the classic irony that comes with the reflection of age. When you are younger, someone who is sixteen, eighteen, twenty all seem to look like they have got their lives together and as you get older, the number you look up to for that sacred age where you have supposedly ‘got your life together, also gets older along with you. This is when you realise that the people you originally looked up to were probably in the exact same state of mind as you are now – waiting to stop making it up and simply know what is going on instead. A great song for this idea that includes an introduction of choral backing when the song progresses. It potentially could have benefited with a section of a singular voice of harmony instead of the choral backing, but this does not alter the effectiveness of the song in its entirety.
The Back of My Mind
In The Back of My Mind is a slower pop ballad with a beautiful melody which James has filled with some very poignant lyrics. These state, “It’s not about holding onto the love that we used to have and I promise I’m not trying to get you back” but forever, they will be in the back of your mind. The song explores an aspect of romantic relationships that often isn’t discussed as freely but is equally as important as more mainstream topics. It follows the narrative of when relationships have ended and time has gone on, yet the person you used to love remains in the back of your mind. It was refreshing to see this mentioned in song form in a realistic way. When relationships end and people move forward, those memories and feelings are not merely erased overnight, and sometimes the remnants of what was sometimes never leave. This can be bittersweet but is handled brilliantly within this song.
Small Talk begins playfully with a ‘first date’ energy. The song points out the unnecessary and often obstructing manner small talk gets in the way of truly getting to know someone. Reflecting that “nobody likes this part at all”, it highlights a common complaint in society that no one really likes small talk that much, and yet we persist on doing it. A humorous, fun addition to a diverse EP.
We Can Be Heroes
The last song to mention, We Can Be Heroes takes on a different tone of underlying power and hope. If you want a song to motivate you; this is most definitely it. Sticking to a slow pace, the rhythm remains consistent, driving the melody forward. Overall, a superb last addition to a strong EP. Give it a listen, you won’t regret it.