Free and legal MP3: Sløtface (wistful midtempo rocker)

So yes I guess every now and then I am engaged by a song’s lyrics, however much that is not normally the case for me here.

“New Year, New Me” – Sløtface

“New Year, New Me,” already pithily arranged, strips down even further, shortly after the halfway point, allowing front woman Haley Shea to draw attention to the following lyrics:

I keep playing my own therapist
And I’m convinced I’m good at it

Packed into these lines is the layered theme of this appealing midtempo rocker. With a blasé crispness suited to the matter at hand, Shea initially sings of the inevitable disappointments of unfulfilled new year’s resolutions. But this isn’t a cynical pity party. If, yes, we annually set ourselves up for failure by making new year’s resolutions in the first place, then maybe this inevitability is itself worth pondering. Most of us want to be better people but at some point have to confront the reality that you don’t get there via new year’s resolutions. Being convinced that one can be one’s own therapist is a poignant part of the wistful predicament, but recognizing that this is what one keeps trying to do is, maybe, a first step towards actual change. And maybe approaching the self with compassion rather than reproof offers a new hope, having nothing to do with making fated-to-fail “resolutions” (a word Shea does not in fact employ here).

So yes I guess every now and then I am engaged by a song’s lyrics, however much that is not normally the case for me here. As for the music, the first thing I like a lot is the laid-back lead guitar line, which comprises the introduction: it’s concise, melodic, and self-assured. The verse unfolds so casually as to seem spontaneous, with a couple of nicely-placed chord changes (e.g., 0:25), then launches into the chorus on a riff itself so understated as to be nearly nonexistent (0:37)—a musical reinforcement, perhaps, of the self’s predicament here: does stasis make change impossible, or is there some oh-so-gentle way to accept the self that can lead to transformation?

Sløtface is a band based in Stavanger, Norway. Although consistently identified as a punk pop (or a pop punk; is there a difference?) band, Sløtface (original name Slutface, and that’s still how you pronounce it), presents more accurately as a band that knows how to write and perform crafty, accessible rock songs, their guitar-laced volume consistently tempered by musical know-how and Shea’s approachable vocal style. Note that Shea has American parents, but grew up in Norway; the band’s other three members are Norwegian. “New Year, New Me” can be found on Sløtface’s new album, Sorry For The Late Reply, released late last month via Nettwerk/Propeller Recordings.

MP3 via KEXP.

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