Retro rock swing spells out summer vibes in most situations, but this is especially true of the new single “It Really Sucks Getting Old” from Michael Dean Hall. Rather than trying to align the lyrical narrative in this track with a modern rock formula, Hall smartly develops his verses around an old-fashioned rhythm that fits well with the story he wants to tell. The thoughtfulness of the structure and the music video make this a technical success, and a good look for those of us who appreciate rock n’ roll at its absolute purest.
These verses are anything but cerebral, but Hall doesn’t want to cultivate a surreal mood in this performance. On the contrary, this is one of the more black and white-style rock compositions you can get your hands on in 2022, and unlike similarly retro content from Greg Hoy or Elephant Gang, this has a much heavier Americana element that doesn’t feel like a newfound aesthetic. This is a singer/songwriter who wants to be himself, and the charm that comes with being completely unfiltered makes his one of the more interesting sounds to come across in this otherwise diluted contemporary rock underground.
Michael Dean Hall has a blue-collar melodicism that he wields like a samurai sword in this single, and I think that the blues influence he’s exploiting here could be even better utilized in a future performance. He’s got some soul to his style, and I think it would be fun to hear what he can turn out with a slower, more deliberate groove than what we’re getting in “It Really Sucks Getting Old.” There’s room for growth, but this is overwhelmingly stronger than what the bulk of this guy’s peers have been submitting over the past spring season.
“It Really Sucks Getting Old” has a sterling production quality and a well-defined master mix, giving us all of the twang and tone that we want from Hall and his backing band without any of the overdone varnish that frequently accompanies something as sharp as this single is. Details are pretty important, especially in this cleaner form of rock music, but they’re not taking precedence over the melodic wit this singer/songwriter has when he’s making a statement he believes in. I admire his priorities, and I wish the same was true of his rivals on the American indie circuit at the moment.
Simple is as simple does, and Michael Dean Hall’s cut and dry performance of “It Really Sucks Getting Old” could be just the post-Father’s Day, pre-summer rocker we didn’t know we needed this June. There’s too much complication when it comes to the vast majority of the rock music that’s been coming out on the mainstream side of music in the last few months, but this is a stirringly different energy that I think a lot of listeners are going to respond to with a little more zeal than they would the synthesized content being pushed on FM radio in the AOR format right now.
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