Welcome all to 𝗣𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗺’𝘀 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝘆𝗴𝗼𝗻, the second multi-faceted feature where Pancham_b reviews our normal reviewer’s own music releases. Here, Pancham delves into Charles’ latest single, featured on the 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙞𝙧𝙩𝙝𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙎𝙤𝙣𝙜 - 𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙡𝙡𝙮
"𝐼 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑤 𝑜𝑙𝑑...
𝐼 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑤 𝑜𝑙𝑑...
𝐼 𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑤𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑏𝑜𝑡𝑡𝑜𝑚𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑦 𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑟𝑜𝑙𝑙𝑒𝑑."
- 𝑇.𝑆. 𝐸𝑙𝑖𝑜𝑡
Charles is growing older, as we are all wont to do. But unlike most of the rest of us, he persists in maintaining a consistent groove to keep his impending mortality at bay. We are all on a long and winding journey, and the trick is to realize that life is essentially Sisyphean, we can't keep looking forward to the next best thing, or even keep looking back at the last happy recollection. We have the now, and that is all we have. Memories are sepia, and the future is uncertain and full of climate-change induced natural catastrophes, so we need to be mindful, of the only slice of time and space over which we exercise a modicum of control. The here, and the now. Being mindful is normally associated with meditation. I, however, would argue that being mindful has to also encompass fun. We should live, to the fullest possible extent, every single moment of our existence, be that contemplating the void on a lonely mountain-top, or dancing like no one's watching in the privacy of one's bedroom. And what better day to celebrate life than one's birthday, the annual Hallmark card stock-exhausting, infinite generic Facebook message-spawning, random online discount offer-getting day that we all encounter, once in a year, two if you're particularly creative.
Every song fades, so we revel in the three and a half minutes before the fade-out; every play has a final act, but we don't often need to ponder what happens to the cast and crew and the characters they portray after the curtains come down. The Birthday Song, released on the occasion of the exceedingly esteemable Charles Connolly's birthday, *spoiler alert* also ends. But we are here for the journey, and it proves to be quite a magical tour, full of mystery and rhythm, and perhaps even a dancing walrus or two, if one listens carefully enough. This is cerebral fun, with a killer bass and some heady craftsmanship.
The swell of strings hits me like a Moody Blues tune, but the sensation is fleeting, as the keys come in; almost 80s, very fun. These could be Nights in White Satin, as long as we can dance in our satin pajamas (or without the aforementioned garments, more on this later). "You just got up", sings our hero, "had a look around and went back to bed" (you call in sick to work, the soul-less cycle of capitalism can take a back-seat for one day in the year), and the fast phrasing of "look around" wraps around the music, a furtive glance, a moment of whimsical indecision, before the protagonist decides that fun is indeed the order of the day. This is superlatively done, and draws you into the mind of the songwriter, and lays clear the intent of this joyously recorded tune. I could bring up another fifteen examples of expert song-craft from the rest of the song, but serendipity is beautiful, and there are so many happy discoveries that the listener will find for themselves in The Birthday Song.
The vocals instantly recall Another Day, one of my favourite McCartney songs, but then Charles does not believe in standing still, and he also somehow manages to remind me of both Bruno Mars and Adam Levine (back when Maroon 5 didn't write and record utter tripe, I would like to clarify) in the same song. These are all good and valid comparisons, but endlessly name-dropping in this song review I believe would do The Birthday Song a fundamental disservice. This is essentially a Charles Connolly tune, and he is already getting to the point where he sounds like himself, and I for one am very excited to see his own style evolve further as the years roll on. I would love to write more about the song itself, but I would rather you check it out yourself. Go listen to it, now, then, and again and again; this is proper Spotify On-Repeat material.
So much happens here, so many good things, full of life, and wonderful music and imagery. The bass is so good I just want the stems to listen to on loop on my DAW. There is a superbly tasteful guitar solo, a smidgen reminiscent of John Mayer's tone in his Blues Trio days, but I reiterate, this is essentially a uniquely Charles Connolly track, with uniquely Charles Connolly elements. Charles gives you his blessing to dance in the nude, it is your birthday after all. The song rises and rises, a proper dance fiesta, "relax, enjoy the party", an infinity of foot-taps and head-bops, and then it all comes back around to the chorus, "It's your birthday, you can do what you want". And then, eventually, even though you don't want it to, it ends, and not on a fade out, which I believe is highly appropriate, as I just proceed to play the track over once again. This is unbridled joy, encapsulated in 220 seconds of glorious music. Charles is growing older, but he is having so much fun in the process, and we are all invited to the party.
Listen to 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙞𝙧𝙩𝙝𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙎𝙤𝙣𝙜 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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