‘Pirate Flag’ by Kenny Chesney Provides Intrigue For The Album – Single & Video Review

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There has been much hype around this song, claiming it will
begin Kenny’s move to a different terrain musically, and that the album will
follow that. However, when I first listened to the track, I find it a bit odd
and confusing.

The track begins with a quiet, unobtrusive organ melody, and
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s made the mistake of trying to turn it up to
full volume due to this. Handclaps and a nicely strummed mandolin jump in, and
it sounds quite nice, quite sweet. At this point I was totally thrown off base
by a subtle key change in the music that happens mere milliseconds before Kenny
comes in with the vocals, that are in line with this sudden key change, in a
kind of pitched melodic rapping. To add to the confusion, the sweetness of the
instruments already in the mix are added to by a heavier drum beat and some
snappy muted distorted guitar, just hitting the bassier strings. The two ends
of the sonic spectrum clashing plus this rapping in a key that to me doesn’t
automatically fit with the key of the music, makes it rather a melting pot. The
heavier guitar part becomes more prominent as the song progresses, and then we
have its saving grace: the chorus.

The chorus launches in full pelt with the kind of country
rock from Kenny that we’re more used to hearing and the melody and key parts
that originally confused me begin to make a lot more sense. The chorus links
the whole song together and without it I’m not sure it would work, as after
that the second verse etc feels a lot easier on my ears. I can see Kenny’s
trying to go for something different and off-base as country music does tend to
stick to the familiar, traditional keys and melodies. Perhaps that’s why it
feels a little uncomfortable to me – I’m so used to hearing what I’m expecting
and what is ‘familiar’, that anything different sets me on edge. I think this
one is a grower, and definitely the more I hear it the more I get used to it.

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Sarah Darling ‘Home To Me EP’ Review

Sarah darling

Sarah Darling has been on the map for a few years but
according to Wikipedia (not the most reliable source I know) the single ‘Home
To Me’ has been her first entry on the chart. It seemed fitting, then, that I
take this opportunity to introduce myself to her music through her brand new EP
of the same name.

‘Home To Me’, the lead off single and title track of the EP,
is a country/pop love song using that well-known tactic of country ‘buzzwords’
to get on country radio and find a way in to the romantic metaphorical lyrics
14-year-old girls post on Tumblr. This time these ‘buzzwords’ are the names of
states, comparing certain aspects of the narrator’s lover to these states, I
guess creating various symbolisms and connecting to fans living in those
states. Yet, to Sarah, her lover feels like ‘home’ to her, and maybe she’s
saying each of these states are home to her because they’re all part of the
South. Either way, it doesn’t convince me that this is a country song.
Musically we have a banjo underlying throughout the whole song and a vague
steel guitar, as if this is another injection of country to what is frankly, a
rather pop-sounding song, totally reminiscent of both the pop and country
charts in the early noughties. The non-gender-specific harmonies are taken straight
from this period too, in addition to your typical soft electric guitar and drum
unit, maracas guiding the verses. That’s not to say I don’t like the song, it
reminds me of the music I loved when I was 14, and it will be hugely popular
with that demographic. Vocally she reminds me a little of Kellie Pickler and
generally it’s a sweet, nice song that is gentle on the ears and accompanies a
sunny day quite satisfyingly, the chorused blues-ish guitar solo adding a
slightly-out-of-place element to the song. However, it doesn’t kick me out of
bed or make me sit up and listen.

I’m hopeful that the second track on the EP, ‘How Dare You’,
will round out the image a bit and show me more to a singer who appears to
finally be coming over the horizon this year. To be perfectly honest it feels a
bit like more of the same. A classic singer/songwriter style pop song with
banjos added, lyrics about being helpless in love, as you can probably imagine
from the title. It’s well-sung, but a bit cliché, and the weird pop-style
echoes on the title lyric don’t sit all too well for me. Having said that, I
feel a bit harsh being negative about it, because it’s one of the least
offensive songs I have ever listened to. It’s simply pleasant and teenage girls
will lap it up.

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