AV Super Sunshine has made a popular and thrilling musical career out of being a stylistic jack of all trades. It continues with his latest single “The Neighborhood” which, as is his custom, has been released in two distinct versions. The first is straightforward rock replete with a hard-hitting rhythm section attack and boisterous guitar. His second take on the new single is styled as an EDM track and proves to be equally convincing. He has the rare songwriting gifting of being able to move his songs between genres without losing their distinctive character. It is a hallmark of greatness. It isn’t a new thing, however. AV Super Sunshine has produced music at a consistently high level for many years and “The Neighborhood” shows he has plenty of fuel left in the tank.
It’s ample fuel for taking on very disparate styles of music. The EDM take on “The Neighborhood” is a little longer than its rock counterpart, but every bit as focused. Marrying AV’s lyrics for “The Neighborhood”, laden with specific detail and brimming with personality, with a colorful synthesizer backing produces unusual effects. EDM fans are often used to a song’s lyrical content being rather spartan and repetitive, but no so here. It elevates a musical style that usually doesn’t have much lyrical substance.
The EDM arrangement, however, is top notch. Its physicality manifests itself in a different way than its rockier counterpart. It does not mean, however, that it is any less physical. The EDM style does, however, give the song a faceless musical personality in comparison. AV’s vocals and lyrics are more important than ever considering that. The slight extension of the song’s running time has no real effect on the song either judged alone or compared to its rock mix.
Many listeners will prefer the rock mix. There’s much more personality in this take on the tune thanks to the involvement of a coterie of musicians, among them AV’s longtime musical and production collaborator Michael Bradford. The production for the rock version captures the drums quite well, they have snap and give the song memorable presence, while the guitar work never goes in for virtuoso trips. Instead, it helps flesh out the song and build it into a powerful dynamic monster.
It’s notable, as well, how the track never strikes you as a solo performance. Instead, the rock version sounds and feels like a real rock BAND, cooking on all cylinders, and throwing off sparks from beginning to end. AV Super Sunshine, however, is in the center of it all. His voice competes with a bevy of instruments, however, rather than the comparatively one note approach provided by synthesizers and keyboards. Some of the best parts of this performance are hearing the musicians shift into a higher gear before the song’s chorus.
It’s another memorable entry in AV Super Sunshine’s growing discography and worthy of his considerable talents. “The Neighborhood” demonstrates, once more, his remarkable songwriting dexterity as the track works no matter what style he embraces for its delivery.
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