Review Summary: Bright Future
Michigander has been on the radar for quite awhile now. The brain child of Jason Singer has popped up in playlists and gracing the background of friends’ posts on Instagram. It almost hurts to say this, but the reason I never really sat down to let the teeth sink in was Jason’s lack of a full length. It’s an old man’s excuse, I know. I was born in the 70’s (barely) and I still remember buying a record at a record store and coming home to dig through the liner notes. There is this thing in my mind that says, “If you can’t focus and give me a proper full length, then I can’t waste my time.” It’s wrong. So I decided to dive in and really listen to this EP that was only just released a few months ago.
My first time through I couldn’t help to just enjoy myself. The music is a jangly, strummy, pretty indie rock record. Jason strides the line between so many different popular genres, and it’s very smart. I could hear these songs easily on a list featuring Death Cab or Manchester Orchestra, but then pop one into a War On Drugs or Ryan Adams playlist and it would sit as equally happy. The production is slick, and there is a nice amount of lo-fi pepper sprinkled into the mixes. There may be a bit of compression keeping the energy boxed in a bit, but engineer Jake Rye makes things easy to enjoy.
The record starts on a high note with “Better” and it’s very clear right off the bat that the songs are quality. The lyrical content mostly circles around lovesickness, but this first track inspires hope for the future. It is quickly followed by “Let Down” which delivers a sugary pop hook, twinkling piano and a very fun synth in the chorus. The song’s chorus follows with a refrain that absolutely demands a smile. This is the epitome of fun, thoughtful and clever songwriting. A ton of throwback sounds and vibe help perk the ears up. I wouldn’t say this is the most original music I’ve ever heard, but no complaints here.
“Saturday” is up next, and I can’t help but immediately love the vibe. It’s got a dark swagger, and killer bass through the verses. The chorus is a bit disappointing from a production standpoint. This song seemed as though it wanted to explode, but the mix is pretty smooshed. It doesn’t hit like it could, but this type of sound seems to be used heavily these days. “Headlights” is a standout track for me. It’s a gorgeous ballad with twinkling piano and subtle synths. Jason has almost a David Ramirez drawl through this one and it works very well for him. The song is a slow burn, and the composition is very nice. Well done.
The EP finishes up with two more well-crafted songs. “Ok” has a slightly “Pumped Up Kicks” vibe, which is nice to hear. It’s quick and danceable, and in my opinion, the first song suspect of filler so far. We finish up with “Together” which is another example of the skill Mr. Singer has in crafting light and listenable indie rock.
Michigander is clearly no secret anymore. His Spotify page top five tracks boasts well over ten million plays and it seems he has been able to craft music to fit into nearly any type of playlist. Jason Singer is obviously a smart guy, and his finger is definitely on the pulse of what folks are wanting to hear. My biggest complaint is substance. The lovesick and romantic vibe displayed throughout this release is so common that it barely makes much of an impact. But maybe that’s the point. It’s easy to digest and even easier on the ears. Bright future for this guy for sure.