Straightforward but hardly lacking its own identity in the grander scheme of things, the rhythm behind the percussion in Blake Langdale’s “Streets” is definitely an essential element in the song’s allure. Structured around its beat and a soft lead vocal from Langdale that seems all too poised for the chaotic melodic components we find it surrounded by, there are moments in which “Streets” translates as being more experimental than it is alternative per-say, but at the same time it’s difficult to tie its foundations to the trending surrealism movement in the American underground today. This is a track and its companion video might not seem like the mathiest of documents on the surface, but upon closer inspection I’ve found them to be sublimely complicated in all the right ways.
There’s a fragility to the vocal here that allows for the lyrics to sound really vulnerable in spirit, authenticating the tone of the narrative whilst leaving enough room for us to feed into the theme ourselves. The music video literally takes us to the streets to expose the forward statements made from verse to verse without anything to get in the way, and although it’s inspired by the soundtrack, I get something different out of its story than I do the song on its own. Langdale doesn’t want us to get stuck on one part of the creative faceting in “Streets;” he wants us to take in the full-bodied opus of emotions for what it is, rather than picking through to find specific treasures we favor over others.
The bassline here has an amazing presence that is imperative to making the melody firm but never sounds intrusive over the lead vocal for a second – something that I’ve been running into increasingly among indie pop artists in 2020. It might be that Langdale’s voice is such a powerful element by itself, or the mixing is tightly angled to spotlight his pipes more than anything else, but in either case there’s never an instance where he sounds overwhelmed by the compositional demands being made of him. This is a good depth-feeler in terms of getting his sound introduced to new fans, and for me, it’s the only proof that I need verifying his capabilities in a crowded underground talent pool.
I just found out about the music of one Blake Langdale this November, but if this is the sort of style he’s going to build his entire career around, I don’t doubt that we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more from him in the future. This is a very pivotal moment in the history of pop music, and instead of taking the trajectory of their predecessors and expanding upon their goals exclusively, artists like this one are melding different influences together for a cocktail of emotional pop melodicism that owes nothing to the past and everything to the futuristic optimisms of its chief players. Langdale has my attention, and after you take a look at “Streets,” I believe he’s going to have yours as well.
by Bethany Page