Quality melodies and searing riffs are rarely packaged together anymore – it’s one or the other, if you’re lucky, in a truly alternative rock single these days. Forget about the hip-hop crossovers and pseudo-emo players you’ve been hearing on college radio ahead of listening to the new single from Darro, “Used Me (all along),” and you just might understand why I say the alternative label is overused in 2021 compared to how it was traditionally employed some twenty years ago. Darro offers a credible combination of smart melodicism and killer fretwork in this track, arguably dismissing the notion of inauthentic rock’s prevalence with a uniquely punkish attitude.
The beat in “Used Me (all along)” is dripping with adrenaline and discomfort, but it’s only through the restlessness of the percussion that Darro himself is able to nudge the verses as hard as he does in the chorus. When we get to the fever pitch in this song, it’s everything my boy’s got to keep from breaking the melodic fluidity and simply crushing us with the physicality of his verses, but his swaggering performance never falls short. He’s got discipline others would kill for, and it’s helping him pop a home run in this release.
Darro’s attitude in his execution is a massive contributing factor as to why I’m naming this one of my favorite pop/punk cuts of the last three months, and when juxtaposing this piece with the rap/punk fusion works that have been showing up on the charts recently, it’s clear who is valuing the aesthetics at hand and who simply wants to make a quick buck on a seemingly retro trend. This guy isn’t just wailing away at a mic – he’s wearing his heart on his sleeve and going hard at the riff, which is what made punk’s appeal so great in the first place.
This is one of the most developed hooks I’ve heard in a straight indie rock number in 2021’s third act, and the thoughtfulness of the lyrics makes the complete “Used Me (all along)” sound like something from a seasoned veteran on the mainstream level rather than someone still working his way through the underground hierarchy. Darro just doesn’t translate as the uncertain up-and-comer so many of his peers would here – he’s pulverizing us with raw power and melodic depth unlike his competition’s, and his humanizing harmonies make this material accessible to fans of this genre both young and old the same.
“Used Me (all along)” is a truly enthralling rocker that’s both playable and relatable, and from its poetic strengths to the sonic assault it’s able to divvy out on a dime, you’re certain to find something you love about its contents. Nearly four minutes long and unsubtle in its emotional output, this latest single from Darro has all the right stuff to break him out of his underground scene and onto an international stage where his presence is most definitely desired (and fitting from a critical perspective). I’m down for more, and I bet a lot of other rock fans are saying the same thing right now.
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