Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! In this edition, Jules Stewart reviews “Recently," the debut single from Melanie Medina.
Let me set the scene for you: you’re out catching some live music at your favorite spot, and someone is ripping out artful solos, perfect rhythms, and riffs that float like fog around the rest of the band. You’re feeling the music and so is everyone around you. You look up to find out who’s on guitar and it’s Melanie Medina. It’s always Melanie Medina. Melanie has a degree in Jazz Guitar and gigs extensively around San Diego, but not everyone has had the chance to hear her original music or her sweet, smooth vocals. In her debut single, “Recently," she comes out swinging with a feel-good bop that manages to provide plenty of fun for casual listeners and studied musicians alike. With its syncopated vocal rhythms and funky hits, this song made me smile right off the bat. Conceptually, “Recently" playfully explores the sometimes overwhelming highs that come from adoring someone: lost sleep, studying every attribute, and the deep desire to truly know them.
It’s a terribly difficult thing to orchestrate musical complexity into a finished product that smacks a listener with simple joy. Writing a happy love song that stays away from the trite or cliche is also no small feat. “Recently" manages both. Melanie’s full, layered bed of guitar rhythms and her ultra-melodic solo are woven seamlessly with keys (from Shandon Campbell, who also produced the track) and snazzy trombone and saxophone lines (by Kevin Urzua and Juan Gonzales, respectively). As a drummer myself, I usually have a hard time hearing anything other than drums and bass on my first few times listening to a track, but the parts of this one fit so well together that what struck me first was the feel of “Recently." The relaxed, bouncy groove laid down by Abran Gurrola on drums and Sean Hicke is perfection; it feels just as central to the theme of the song as the lyrics.
You know how animated movies notoriously contain “easter eggs,” or hidden gems that are placed there just for the careful watcher to find? Melanie managed to nestle in a handful of little jokes and puns for jazz-lovers in the same way. They’re worked in so smoothly that I was almost mad at myself when I recognized them, just like I was when someone pointed out the fact Lightning McQueen races with Lightyear tires in Cars. Oh, you thought I was going to point those jazz jokes out? No dice, find them yourself.
All in all, “Recently" is an impossibly great debut single from a musician who is just starting to explore what it’s like to take a lead role in her own musical project. I’m looking forward to the next two singles which are set to be released later this year.
Stream/Download “Recently" Online
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