“Home In A New York Minute” by Barry Muir
I wouldn’t necessarily describe the opening bars of “Home In A New York Minute,” the new single from Barry Muir, as being aggressive, but one thing is for sure; they do a good job at setting the tone for the rhythm we’re soon to embrace. The vocal is an agent of percussive evocation as much as the drums are, initially appearing in the mix as more of a physical element than a melodic one. It doesn’t take very long for this change, though – by the time we’re more than thirty seconds into “Home In A New York Minute,” it becomes pretty obvious to anyone within earshot just how committed to making harmony-oriented pop Muir is. Is he an experimentalist? Sure, but to be fair, all of pop music’s most iconic figures were.
The robotic grind of the percussion would be mind-numbing here were it not countered by a lush element in the synth melodies that seems to balance every gritty moment out with something soft and palatable. “Home In A New York Minute” is everything that its name would imply it to be from an aesthetical perspective; it’s got a certain sting that you can’t find in any other poppy material at the moment, yet its flavor is just as unique and coveted. I don’t think Muir was trying to rewrite the rules of songcraft in this track as much as he simply wanted to make everyone aware of how disinterested he is in following the beat of another player’s drum both literally and figuratively.
As we get deeper into the song, we shift into a more moderate refrain that could be the most chilling event of the entire track were it not fitted beside some of the sportiest hooks I’ve heard in the last few months. Muir isn’t overly focused on the arrangement, but his seamless command of the lead vocal in this song is something that a lot of indie artists could take a page from when producing new content in the future. I like that it’s almost impossible to peg what the artist’s ultimate goal was in “Home In A New York Minute;” it leaves it open for debate among critics and fans what the meaning, and more importantly, the message behind this composition’s existence truly is.
“Home In A New York Minute” comes to an end much as it first begins – in a tizzy of textures and tones that collide into each other before reentering the ethers from which it was first sprung. As much as he might have been tempted to, mostly because of how keenly talented he is, there isn’t any instance in this song where Muir sounds as though he’s showboating or trying to be arrogant in his fantastical arrangement of the grooves. He’s humble in his vocals, accessible in his demeanor, and rather playful with his harmonies in every portion of the song that affects the narrative. “Home In A New York Minute” is a good look for him, and for this critic, a style that I want to see him expand upon as soon as he has the chance to get back into the studio.
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