Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
| Detailed or mini-review submissions: song, EP/album
| Suggest an artist
Joel Smith Project - What He's Leaving Behind (song review) |self-released, Adam's Awakening, 2011|
The second song on the Adam's Awakening
album released by the Joel Smith Project in 2011 brings both hooky and groovy rock’n'blues vibes.
The dominating sound of “What He's Leaving Behind” is based on guitars and the nice sounding rock voice of Joel, which completes in harmony with both the rhythmic and solo riffs. You can hear a drum kit in the background as well, which in fact opens the song with quite an oriental sounding beat.
Listening to “What He's Leaving Behind” feels like consorting with life in a hot open space. You may feel the heat of sun rays on your skin or you may see people walking leisurely with dust furling upwards from dried, compacted ground. You may see animals feeding in large fields, wind turbines and grain silos, a small local grocery store and a gas station, a freight train moving slowly on the horizon, a group of young people playing on drums and discussing some abstract topics. Finally, you may have a vision of a broad road with hot air eddying over it and a single truck passing you by.
Provided that the song melody brings all these good moods, the core of the lyrics may not sound so positive considering their subject matter. It’s very good poetic writing though, speaking about a man who deals with a lack of identity, who not only understands himself, but finds no meaning in his life either. He doesn’t do anything to change this state of existence; just gets into fights which ignite all of his troubles.
It may be tricky for many song writers to create the beginning and end of a song. It usually happens when they already have the core structure in place with a refrain and melody. The intro or outro then most often turns out either ordinary and boring or sounds a little distant in harmonic comparison to the rest of the recording.
Joel dealt with this issue by utilizing an interesting effect. He muted the song and repeated its ending. It could have been worked out differently as well, taking into consideration how the song began. Perhaps he made it this way because the original song was too long. Nevertheless, if a musician enjoys songwriting and gains listener’s who are happy too, then why not to let it roll for yet another minute? An unfortunate reality is that most radio stations and TV channels will pick a song short enough to comply with daily program scheduling time frames.
It’s clear that Joel can perfectly plan specified sections of his arrangements. He knows how to develop them and condense them further into the track. These skills can also be heard near the end of “What He's Leaving Behind”. The song has hit potential, so it should be provided to any meaningful media and could also be enriched with a bright video since the song delivers an even better perception.
(Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, February 6th, 2012. Proofreading: Scott M. Owens)