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“Love Is Us” by Charles Parker

In his new music video and single “Love Is Us,” Charles Parker breaks off a stylish pop hook amidst a flurry of countrified riffing, classic rock tonality and old fashioned melodicism of the purist variety, but despite the amalgamative nature of the song, it’s hardly an experimental look for this burgeoning singer/songwriter. Parker has been throwing intoxicating harmonies together in his quest for the perfect sonic cocktail for a couple of years now, and though he hasn’t necessarily attempted to redefine the narrative of popular music through his work, he’s establishing himself as quite the colorful crooner in his most recent recordings – this track included. “Love Is Us” is a fun, easygoing song that only asks listeners to embrace its simple structure and unfanciful edge, which is more than I can say for its mainstream counterparts out at the moment.

Parker’s voice is tucked into the center of the mix here nicely, but it actually doesn’t get much of a boost on the soundboard in comparison to the instrumental elements in the track. The guitars are probably the biggest scene-stealer on the backend of the mix, but I will say that the bassline has a very formidable presence in the grander scheme of things, which is worth noting when breaking down the hook in the chorus. Constructed like a pop song but finished like a rock n’ roll homage, “Love Is Us” is every bit the experimental endeavor, but what makes it such a fetching listen has less to do with its creative individuality and almost everything to do with its seamless arrangement.

I like that while the verses here are pretty straightforward, the general narrative (when married with the melodies in the foreground) could be interpreted both as a statement of irony and as a genuine celebration of love and human kinship, depending on who happens to be listening to this track. The music video is a lot less enigmatic than the song is by itself, but even at its most blunt, there’s still plenty of room for us to read into Parker’s words. He’s probably not trying to be elusive in his commentary, but at the same time, I don’t get the impression that this track, nor any that he’s ever stuck his moniker on, was designed with a passive audience’s adulation in mind.

Efficiently recorded and surreally black and white in all of the ways that actually matter, Charles Parker’s latest single and its companion music video are definitely intriguing food for thought when considering this singer/songwriter’s career aspirations moving into 2020 – from which I think he will be reaping plenty of rewards. Parker has a unique sound that is still in the process of becoming what it will ultimately be, and though he’s up against a lot of stiff competition on the indie side of the dial right now, work like this is going to continue to keep his name in the headlines well into the New Year and beyond. “Love Is Us” is an unguarded, inspirational song perfect to round out the year with, and in that sense, it’s one of this artist’s best releases thus far.

Mindy McCall

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