For some musicians, especially in modern pop, lyrics are an afterthought, meant only to facilitate a wicked beat and texturize a catchy hook in a song. For others like Jerad Finck, they’re a centerpiece around which to craft a sonic chef-d’oeuvre. Finck is no stranger to expressing himself with a bold prose in the studio, and those who would suggest otherwise would be smart to give “New Kids,” “Pieces of April” and the swaggering “Criminal” a listen sometime. In his latest single “Home,” Finck trims the fat from the traditional pop melody as we’ve come to know it in 2019, and fashions it in surreal synthesizers and a poetic admission about isolation, kinship and self-awareness that is told partly through his lush lyrics and partly through his thought-provoking music.
The verses are dreamlike in the way that they’re sewn directly into the melody of the synths. They harmonize so mildly at first, leading us to think that the entire song is going to be barebones and simple, only to blossom into this all-enveloping force in the chorus. The bass is green with envy, emulating the frustration of being on the outside looking in, and only finds its way into the forefront of the mix after fighting through the layers of elegant keys and a violet-colored vocal track. Texture is obviously of paramount importance to Jerad Finck, because I’ve yet to hear a song of his that didn’t make it as much of an evocative showcase as the lyricism is – which on its own sets his style apart from anyone else’s, in or out his scene.
“Home” isn’t victimized by an overproduced mix; in fact, I would say that its ultra-slick stylization is probably one of its hottest elements. Finck’s music has been getting more and more streamlined and progressive in tone in recent years, and if we are to examine “Home” from a compositional perspective, this might be the best song to demonstrate his camp’s unique approach to the soundboard. The beats are always given more of the limelight than the melodic guts of the track ever are, but only to a point where the central serenade is never disturbed. Through this technique, we’re always under his spell, being directed by the swing in his singing and brought to our knees by the groove of the drums as often as it draws us back to the dancefloor.
Jerad Finck has been doing some incredible work in the studio throughout the latter part of the 2010’s, and I think that “Home” is a culmination of his intense effort and the dedication that he’s given to this medium as a professional. There are a couple of mechanical issues that are present in this track, but they’re so minute and unremarkable that it would be next to criminal to dismiss the song as anything other than a big step forward for the career of a very talented young man. Whether it be his inspired lyrics, which continue to get more accessible to the masses with every release, or the integrated exoticisms of his music, his sound has got a stylishness to it that is definitely here to stay.
Photo by Nick Alexander