I have yet to meet a person without an addictive personality, or rather who has not experienced some form of addiction. Alright, so my acquaintance quota is not that high, but I believe that all people have the capacity for addiction. Coffee, reality shows, video games, chocolate, alcohol, LSD, marijuana, prescription medication – anything can be an addiction. When you get the first taste, things feel good, and you believe you can stop whenever you want; but when your life revolves around your addiction, and you realise you can’t stop whenever you want, well, then things aren’t so grand. This is what ‘Whiskey’ is all about.
‘Whiskey’ is the latest single from New Jersey-based alt rockers Young Rising Sons. Andy Tongren, Julian Dimagiba and Steve Patrick formed their band in 2010 and are most well-known for the track ‘High’ – a crowd-pleasing pop rock track with catchy hooks and an optimistic meaning. Now, after a short hiatus, the boys are back with a heavier and harder track. Powerful, pulsating and offering a deeper meaning, ‘Whiskey’ seems to be the adult version of Young Rising Sons as compared to their previous work.
While fans of Young Rising Sons may argue that the song is literally a look at their abuse of Jack Daniels for the past few years, I believe that “her lips are a distillery” is a metaphor for any type of addiction. ‘Whiskey’ is the tragic inner turmoil when the person understands the negative effect of addiction, but it’s just too difficult to bring yourself up above the water. I find the lyrics, “With every pull, she pushes harder/ She always seems to know when I start to sober up, and she pours the stuff into my drink” impressive as they demonstrate how a person may want to overcome this misery, but that dark part of themselves takes over.
Of course, it’s not only the lyrics that I find interesting but how they are combined with melody and how this represents an addict’s state of mind. At approximately 1:50 into the track, Tongren’s vocals not only speed up to express angst, confusion, desperation and fear as he’s pulled deeper into the current of addiction; but the recording makes the vocals sound farther away as if he were under a veil. A fitting production for the lyrics “fighting me, dragging me, pulling me down below, down below.”
One aspect of ‘Whiskey’ that I truly adore is the steady beat throughout the track reminding me of a heartbeat. It is natural to have a steady drumbeat in tracks, but the constancy of the beat in a song representative of chaotic moments is striking. Perhaps this juxtaposition of melody and meaning is the primary feature of Sons’ more mature sound.
So, what is my verdict on ‘Whiskey’? I think this is a beginning of an addiction.
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