There are musicians in the world that if they conformed to the pop normalcy of over-production, sleek synth bop sounds, and meta-love songs, they would be global “superstars”. I say this with tongue in cheek due to the insignificance of the term “superstars”, but I think you get the just of what I’m saying.
J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr fame is one great example, he writes the best pop songs, catchiest hooks and sing-along choruses… but uses the craziest fuzz guitar pedal and sings like he swallowed a box of nails. But goddamit I can’t stop singing those songs.
Greg Dulli does the same thing, he will deliberately sing off key as if he found the passion of the verse sexier than singing the right note. Personally I gravitate to these artists as it proves they are indeed human and not robots breathing garbage in and garbage out. They do not settle for mediocrity, but tell an honest story, flaws and all.
I believe Guy Grogan to be that type of artist. The Santa Fe, New Mexico native’s 9th album, Dynamite Bouquet, is not as deliberately off-key as Dulli, and not as gravelly voiced as Mascis, but offers the listener an unexplainable push to listen for that passion, rather than for the sheen. The record is quite good offering the kind of intimacy that comes with singer-songwriter territory, and in Prince fashion, he played all the instruments on the record himself, adding to that intimacy.
“My Own Way Out” is a ready-made, arena rock, dance through the meadows, and a terrific opening song. “River Like a Cry” is a heartfelt trip down a winding river with lyrics and guitar sounding confident and vulnerable at the same time. “Now I’m Me From You” delivers Grogan’s best Morrissey impression, not a dig, funneled through a clap hands stomping sing along. “A Ghost Too Soon” is a haunting and welcome pause for a different perspective. Each song a different narrative, setting, and character; a collection of short stories funneled through song structure.
Grogan is a seasoned and talented musician with songwriting chops, and awards to match. The DIY aesthetic only proves his passion is valid. One can only hope that he keeps telling his story and carving his narrative in the most honest way possible.
And, check out some other killer new music we’ve dug up for your enjoyment here: RARA’s Fresh Crops
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