By Chelsea Ness
Belfast singer songwriter, Joshua Burnside’s latest release, Whiskey Whiskey stood out for me as soon as I heard it. The single is made up of two utterly gripping tracks; The Only Thing I Fear and Whiskey Whiskey in which both songs explores such important themes such as battling with a mental health problem. Although the single tackle such personal and relevant issues, the music behind the lyrics create a sense of inspiration and hope really showing the beauty in Joshua’s musical talents. The single has had a phenomenal response already despite only being released on the 22nd May, with Whiskey Whiskey already been streamed over 120,000 times on Spotify! Both songs are beautifully composed conveying a mellow, chilled out vibe throughout – perfect for escaping during lockdown.
The opener, The Only Thing I Fear is incredible enthralling, heartbreaking and soothing all at the same time. The soft acoustics follow a persona who is suffering from poor mental health highlighted by the lyrics, ‘The Only Thing I Fear is myself and the voices in the attic were mine‘. The soft melody really emphasises the heavenly vocals. Joshua’s voice has the ability to sooth listeners regardless of what lyrics he’s singing. Take this track as an example, the lyrics of the song displays a darker nature yet the music has this calming presence that has the ability to comfort listeners… the power of music strikes again. The lyrics to a track always stand out for me and for me, The Only Thing I Fear is incredibly poetic. My favourite line: ‘well I don’t know what I did last night, don’t know what I said to make you run a mile from me, there’s thunder in my head.’ really makes me feel something towards the persona. I’m haunted yet intrigued all at the same time demonstrating yet again the level of talent in Joshua Burnside‘s songwriting talents.
The second track, Whiskey Whiskey oozes listeners in with the intricate acoustics that creates this beautiful calming tone that blends together perfectly with the captivating vocals. In terms of the music itself think Vance Joy meets Ben Howard – that sort of shoe-gaze poet vibe that will have you inevitably lost in the music within seconds. The soft guitar strings collides with the alluring lyrics making Whiskey Whiskey the type of song that lets you escape, giving listeners a sense of inner peace despite the lyrics of the track indicating the persona battling an alcohol problem: ‘If there’s nowhere else for our souls to go, I don’t want be so sober, whiskey whiskey, so I’ll sip my whiskey... I ain’t going to die sober’. Similar to The Only Thing I Fear, the peaceful melody and acoustics create a juxtaposition to the meaning behind the track. It’s intriguing, heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time (if that’s even possible?), the single carries a lot of emotion throughout really creating this sentimental value. It’s a song I’d quite happily have on repeat all day. Just when you’re ready to hear the last verse the track suddenly breaks into a decrescendo and although Joshua’s vocals are still in reach, the track concludes abruptly, cutting Joshua’s vocals which leaves the listeners wanting more.
Both singles explore important themes such as alcoholism and suffering with poor mental health that are so present in today’s society. Some people can find it really difficult to speak out about such issues which is why both these tracks are so incredibly touching. They allow listeners who may deal with similar issues to connect with the tracks. Both songs really mean something, imagine being able to write music that can help people with their problems, just imagine how incredibly difficult that must be yet Joshua Burnside does it so naturally with his latest release.
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