John Engel – How Cool Is Cool (2022)

At school, there are certain people who are the coolest and most popular, but this popularity and coolness seems to end as soon as they leave school. Like all of us, John Engel has known people like this and wrote ‘How Cool is Cool’ about them. The upbeat and punchy pop-rock tones bring a slight darkness to the ironic lyrics.

There is a slightly retro vibe to the music that takes us back to our high school days, while letting us have a modern good time. While Engel is a solo recording artist, he features some amazing artists on this track to bring the story to life. These musicians are Patrick Deltenre (electric guitar), Michelino Bisceglia (keyboard) Werner Lauscher (electric bass), Marc Bonne (drums), Nico Schepers (trumpet), Carlo Mertens (trombone), Frank Deruyter (alto saxophone), Nina Babet (backing vocals), Chantal Kashala (backing vocals) and Piet van den Heuvel (backup vocals).

The guitar that slides in through the opening of ‘How Cool is Cool’ has a classic and vintage feeling which is enhanced by the horns. There is a really rich vibe to the music as it washes over you. The beats tumble in and get you bopping away to the sound. The melody is a delightful blend of horns, soft rock shuffles and nostalgic touches. This all comes together for a really light movement that has you relaxing and smiling at the single. The upbeat vibes of the music is a little at odds with the lyrics at times, but they balance each other perfectly.

Engel’s voice is soft, rich and gentle as he draws you into the lyrics. From the first moment, he throws your mind back to days long gone and how the popular person used to rule the school. The chorus brings the reality of the present to the soundscape which is a wonderful contrast to the confidence of youth. Through the lyrics, Engel has perfectly contrasted the happy times of youth with the less bright reality of being an adult. This comes through as bittersweet at times, but the melody is so upbeat that it softens the coldness of life. The chorus is also really catchy, made even more engaging by the backing vocals.

John Engel brings a hit of nostalgia, upbeat vibes and contrasting tones to ‘How Cool is Cool’, creating an engaging and fun listening experience. The music is light and bright making you bop away to the rhythm, while the vocals bring a contrasting tale. Engel’s vocals are rich and smooth as they consider the confidence and happiness of youth, before tempering it with the cold reality of adulthood.

Find out more about John Engel on his Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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