With the opening verses “Check the mail, go outside / Has your package arrived / New heart and a clean set of eyes / Trying to give love one more try / Make sure you’re there to sign / The postman always rings twice,” Jake Thistle paints us a picture of reflective yearning in his new single “Brooklyn Can Wait,” and although it’s not the only song of a contemplative nature that critics have been discussing this month, it’s one of the few tracks of its genre to bear its singer’s heartfelt emotion as much as it does his burgeoning skillset. A lot is made of American folk music these days, but much as it was in the 1960s, so few of the best players are getting their due time in the spotlight – aside from this rising star in the underground.
There are plenty of layers for us to dissect in this mix, but “Brooklyn Can Wait” isn’t overwhelmingly complicated in the least; actually, quite the contrary. There are even a few places, such as the transition into the first chorus, where the song could have benefited from more panache on the part of the band, and you could even say that this is one of the more minimalist tunes that this player’s current discography contains.
It isn’t lacking in substance, but the framing of the central melody is the antithesis of indulgence, at least from where I sit.
Even the oversimplified elements that we encounter in “Brooklyn Can Wait” aren’t enough to impede the likability of these lyrics, and the harmonies that shadow them in the strings. The drums are mild and more robotic than they are free-spirited, but their formulaic structure doesn’t have what it takes to make the rhythm of the song feel jaded or slothful. It would be nice to hear some of Thistle’s international counterparts follow his lead and adopt a more relaxed style of attack in regards to balladry, but that might be the biggest reason why his music stands out as much as it does in his scene and abroad.
Jake Thistle is getting better at this game we call popular music, and his new single “Brooklyn Can Wait” is some of his strongest material released to the public so far. There’s lots of ground left for him to cover, but I think that it doesn’t take much more than a cursory listen of this track to appreciate just how much he’s evolved in the last year alone.
Time will tell for sure, but as we inch closer to the next year, I’m getting the feeling that folk-rock is going to be defined more by underground artists like this one than it will by anyone currently dominating the FM airwaves. His is a unique approach to what has become a tried and true formula for scores of independent artists over the past six decades, and with a little more time to find his audience, he’s going to be hard to slow down amidst even the greatest competition.
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