Never let it be said Adrian Sutherland doesn’t know how to make a meaningful debut. Sutherland, member of the band Midnight Shine, is hunting big game with his debut solo single “Politician Man”, a self-described protest song for Canada, but it has a much wider reach. Sutherland, one of three co-writers for the track, is successful at creating something much more with “Politician Man” – rather than grounding its sentiments on specific events, “Politician Man” has a timeless quality speaking to the general contentious relationship between politicians and the people they represent. This track will resonate with Canadians, Americans, and British listeners alike and will not sound dated in short order. The accompanying music video for the song puts an emphatic exclamation point on the listening experience with artistic visuals much more connected to the thrust of Sutherland’s indignation but, nonetheless, still relatable for the a vast swath of listeners.
Not everyone is fixated on politics however but, for those who aren’t, “Politician Man” still provides a pleasured listening experience. It never sounds like a diatribe or musical screed. Sutherland and the song’s co-writers and collaborators as well strike a sympathetic note for listeners to latch onto; even if you aren’t versed at all with Sutherland’s personal concerns, you cannot help but admire the obvious passion he puts into this performance. The musical performances and vocal counterpart are soulful without ever sounding overwrought; Sutherland’s singing maintains an even keel throughout much of the recording and wisely picks its spots for ratcheting up tension.
The rustic musical character of the track definitely recalls traditional genres, but it never sounds painfully out of place. Stripped down sonic architecture like we hear in “Politician Man” will likely always have a place in our musical lives; many listeners long for the simplicity of bygone years, pre-keyboards, pre-Pro Tools, when it was just four guys with instruments playing to the best of their ability and making things come out right. Sometimes, as well, the statements we want music to make demand this bare bones approach – we don’t want to dress things up with gloss and tinsel that might otherwise distract from the message.
The song’s video, directed by Justin Stephenson, is an inspired and logical extension of the songwriting and Sutherland’s personal concerns alike. It embraces some of the standard tropes found in music videos like quick cuts, but it hangs together as a compelling visual document accompanying the track. Taken as a whole, the experience of Adrian Sutherland’s “Politician Man” is something any discerning music lover can get behind because there’s everything here – an entertaining and well-played musical arrangement, a message for those seeking one, a video brimming over with captivating visuals, and a vocal performance you can get behind from the first line onward.
This is a powerful song with the legs to last and remain relevant for many years to come. Adrian Sutherland explores a gamut of emotions throughout the track and delivers its lyrics with discipline and a well-trained musical ear. This may be an one off solo appearance for Adrian Sutherland but, if it is, he’s chosen a memorable track to remember him by,
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