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“Sunshine” by Lucas Jay

Lucas Jay isn’t afraid to let us have it with his melodic potency in the opening lines of his new single “Sunshine,” currently out everywhere smart pop music is sold and streamed. In his startlingly smooth enunciation of the words, Jay has nowhere to hide from the emotion he’s putting on the table for everyone to see and ultimately judge, but that seems to be just fine by him. “Sunshine” jumps out of the speaker and attacks us with its happy-go-lucky groove and reliably poppy hook, and although it’s as pop as anything coming out of the underground scene this summer, it’s got more of a funky bend to its manner of melodic swagger than anything the genre’s establishment has been producing in the last year.

There’s a more complex set of poeticisms in play with “Sunshine” than any of Lucas Jay’s previous material had, but this isn’t to say that I came into this review with low expectations for what I was about to hear. For the last few years that have gone by since the spotlight turned more towards the crossover brand of pop music that he’s making so brilliantly in this single, this is a singer/songwriter who hasn’t stopped reforming himself and finding better and more efficient means by which he can express the emotions in his heart through the harmonies in his music. “Sunshine” resembles elements of some of the similarly experimental works coming out of its genre for sure, but side by side, this demonstrates a lot of practiced wisdom that Jay’s closest competition didn’t have at the start of their odyssey.

The backing band doesn’t have a lot of polish on their parts as far as the master mix is concerned, but I think this was the preferable route to go for the concept being used in the framing of “Sunshine.” The surreal component of the lyrics is very bewitching, but with a lot of bright, sparkling melodies in the foreground, I don’t know that it wouldn’t have come off as a little too much by the time we get into the chorus. By keeping the background instrumentation a little more resolute, Jay is reminding us that he’s as much of a musician’s musician as he is a poetic lyricist who can cut things down to the bone when he has to.

Ambitious and artistically assertive of who he wants to be as a songwriter and performer, Lucas Jay’s “Sunshine” is the most mature work this guy has issued to date, and it’s absolutely one of my new favorite pop singles this August. There are a lot of different times and situations that call for an artist to expand on their greatest ideas, and right now is a moment I would encourage Mr. Jay to take advantage of before the window of opportunity has passed him by. He’s on a roll right here, and while his momentum is as strong as it is at this season, I think it would be prudent of him to give fans even more of what this single is made of sooner rather than later.

Mindy McCall



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