Part of the problem with being a music obsessive is occasionally (okay, all the time) overanalyzing. It’s too easy to be picky in the face of an endless stream of new music. If a song bothers me in even the slightest way, I may not give it another shot.
This is, unequivocally, the wrong way to approach music (and all art, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole here). Preference is context dependent: what’s the weather like? Am I relaxed? Who showed me the track? If you catch a wonderful piece of art at the wrong moment, you do it and its creator a disservice.
I had this problem with Vok’s “Before.” The talented Icelandic duo have very few public tracks, and after digging “Tension” (check it out on Soundcloud) I had high hopes for “Before.” But when I started listening, I immediately began to analyze.
“Okay, the voice is reminiscent of Tegan and Sara, Oh Land and Karin Dreijer Andersson. The backing riff, and the multi-gender vocal layering is pure XX, but not nearly as creative.”
That was it for me. I couldn’t get past how derivative the song felt.
I deserved a firm open palm slap to the face. What’s wrong with a band sounding like three artists I like a lot, and one I love (Karin)? The song is easy listening. I’ve never heard such funky chillwave. And as someone who takes an artists full output into consideration when forming my opinion, I couldn’t help but get excited about Vok’s future when placing “Before” and “Tension” side by side. To use a sports reference (does anyone who read this blog follow sports too?), Vok’s ceiling is (XX + The Weeknd)/Rhye. Their floor is “Before.”
Learn from my errant ways: let the music do the talking.