Artist Spotlight

Review: Andrew Simple, “Onward”

1 Comment 6 October 2013

Review: Andrew Simple, “Onward”

“Simple writes about making forward progress without resorting to predictable lyrical clichés. Such overt sincerity can ring false in the wrong hands. Thankfully, though, Simple has found a way to share his heart’s desire in such a manner that it inspires listeners to press on, onward and upward.”

Artist: Andrew Simple

EP: Onward

Genre: Pop / Folk

RIYL: The Lumineers, Fleet Foxes, Imagine Dragons

Andrew Simple Onward

Optimism is contagious. It spreads like a virus, but a good virus. Andrew Simple’s new EP, Onward, is just such a positive vector because these five songs wave like a collective white flag surrendering to hope.
   
The song “In This Together” is Simple’s sincere rallying cry. On it he sings: “One little spark is all it takes/To start a brushfire that will burn brighter than the day/Brighter than the day.” Driven by a semi-chamber pop arrangement that combines acoustic piano with warmly inviting violin, Simple reminds any and all “that we’re in this together, after all.” The song’s rhythm moves at a mid-tempo, while Simple sings its lyrics relatively calmly and quietly. This is not so much a stadium anthem, as it is an intimate conversation—from one hopeful soul to another. The chorus features a wordless “oh-oh,” repetition, yet it is not the sort of roof-raiser you might have found on old U2 recordings, for instance. Call it a soft anthem, for lack of a better term.
   
Simple also has a knack for incorporating unusual instrumentation into his relatively straight forward pop mix, which leaves unlikely instruments sounding somehow right at home. For example, “Daylight” once again utilizes violin to augment this singer/songwriter’s sincere vocal, yet there is also a banjo part running through it. This is not bluegrass banjo, and it’s certainly not Dixieland. Instead, it’s an empathetic sounding banjo part. With the song’s words, Simple attempts to be a calming influence by singing, “Breathe in, breathe out, all will be well.” The song is a response to dark times because Simple suggests, “The sun will shine/In the nick of time.” There are days when all we really want is just a little daylight, just to be reminded that it cannot be night forever. This song is Simple’s way of playing the part of the reassuring one.
   
With “Where Do We Go from Here,” however, Simple expresses how he doesn’t always have all the answers. Many times, optimism involves leaps of faith. Optimism isn’t being a know-it-all, but is, instead, acting as one that holds onto hope even when hope is not fully visible.

“Onward” is Simple’s most upbeat anthem. With its chorus that speaks of how “nothing’s gonna stop us,” it comes off a little like a Katy Perry single, only in an entirely different musical context. This is soft rock, as opposed to Perry’s dance pop. It features a driving rhythm and another “oh-oh” chorus.

Onward is an excellent title for this work because it succinctly summarizes Andrew Simple’s lyrical aim for his project. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in failure and frustration. Yet like a track meet race, only the ones that finish the race have any chance of winning. Simple writes about making forward progress without resorting to predictable lyrical clichés. Such overt sincerity can ring false in the wrong hands. Thankfully, though, Simple has found a way to share his heart’s desire in such a manner that it inspires listeners to press on, onward and upward.


Andrew Simple website: http://www.andrewsimple.com/

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Your Comments

One Comment

  1. Mr F. says:

    Just listened to “Onward” great, great song but I will say for you to open your review with;

    “Simple writes about making forward progress without resorting to predictable lyrical clichés.

    Dude there’s nothing wrong with a simple cliche…. Simple’s lyric is “Onward we go” (cliche 101) then follows it up with “we’ll make this day our own” (cliche 101 second day of class)...then moves on to say “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” (cliche 101 intro to cliche class).

    Don’t get me wrong I love this song but it really is one big cliche….I would challenge you Dan Macintosh to name a good song that doesn’t use a cliche or two or three as Simple does


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