Self-described “emotronic” artist CEEM delivers an intriguingly stimulating new jam in “Better Than That,” a song that boldly fuses together shades of electropop, emo and post-punk for a wildly addictive summer cocktail that you won’t soon forget. “Better Than That” is structured around its enormous grooves, which create the perfect framework for the lush vocal track that serves as its sonic linchpin, and while it’s definitely one of the more danceable alternative singles that I’ve listened to this season, its incredible melodies will likely affect club-goers as much as it will casual pop fans and anyone who loves a good beat.
This rhythm is super-addictive from the start. The nightclub vibe is inescapable from the onset of the track, but it never becomes so strong that the underlying emotionality of CEEM’s lyrics ends up skewed by overindulgent themes. “Better Than That” is a well-balanced piece of music, and you can tell that a lot of care went into crafting to be as tight and fluid as possible. CEEM’s been at this game for about a decade and a half now, and despite a long hiatus, his latest work doesn’t see him sporting any of the rust that artists typically acquire after an extended break.
The bassline here is pretty physical, but it never gets assaultive in its thrusting grooves. The instrumental arrangement in “Better Than That” was meticulously designed to give every element in the song – bassline included – a hearty presence in the grander scheme of things, and when coupled with this well-constructed master mix, we end up with a single that doesn’t just show off what CEEM can do, but rather exploits his melodic skillset for every drop of sheer magic that it’s worth. That’s no easy task for even the most talented of musicians, let alone someone who hasn’t been active much in the 2010s.
As far as the production quality goes, “Better Than That” has a DIY feel to it, with its most polished parts finding a counterbalance in the gritty, raw vitality that translates through CEEM’s spirited performance. He’s adhering to a strong indie ethos here, but staying away from isolationist techniques that would have made this song accessible to underground aficionados exclusively. There’s plenty of mainstream appeal to this single, and in a summer that has seen nothing but division amongst everyone from politicians to poets, that makes it so much more than just a breath of fresh air.
If you haven’t heard CEEM’s work before, now is the time to get into his catalogue of music, which is about to receive the addition of a brand new LP this coming September. “Better Than That” is definitely an evolved sound for this artist, and one that certainly fits in well with the surreal, modern cultural landscape that the alternative music community has been enjoying these last few years. Both longtime fans and newcomers alike will want to give this track a spin for themselves, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s among the sharpest new songs of the summer without question.
The music of CEEM has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Records. Learn more – https://musikandfilm.com