Monday, August 7, 2017

“Leaving California” by Jack Shields - A Song Review

     It’s a song about returning home. The video of “Leaving California” shows a respect for the joys of the state, but California does not hold the number one position in the singer’s heart. At first, we interpreted the song as a triumph of romance over geography, with the proclamation of “But I’m leaving California… for you” being directed to another person. Since then, we’ve concluded that Jack Shields is informing Connecticut that he’s returning home. That conclusion was verified by Shields' description on SubmitHub:
  "My name is Jack Shields (aka atolla and steve irwin to many). I am 20 years old, and have been producing and performing music for 10 years in my hometown of Ridgefield CT. On this new release I have departed from my forays into electronic music and returned to my roots of folk, rock, guitar, blah blah blah blah… This music video was shot over a 3 week road trip of California embarked on by 3 of my close friends. A defining experience of our lives, we learned more about ourselves and each other than we could have ever imagined, maybe too much. My hope is that this video can inspire people to take their own trips, put down their phones and see the world."

     The video for “Leaving California” evidences the attractiveness of the western state. There are scenes from the spectacular drive on Highway 1 as it runs along the steep cliffs adjacent to the Pacific. Yosemite National Park and San Francisco are well represented. In various locations, Jack Shields and his mates are shown. When walking, it’s always at a leisurely pace. Humdrum tasks, such as packing the van and setting up camp, carry an urgency, but the video primarily shows an easygoing lifestyle (when the van isn’t having troubles).
     The melody is similarly relaxed. The vocals are attractive and nuanced. The pauses during the two occurrences of “I’m leaving California… for you” are effective in communicating the message. And we particularly enjoy the somewhat anguished, slightly raspy voice that enters at the 2:14 mark.
     Instrumentally, “Leaving California" rests on the back of an acoustic guitar. Still, an electric guitar plays an important in establishing an instrumental bridge (at 2:32) and the percussion (kick drum?) pulls its weight with a tempo shift at 1:08.

     “Leaving California” will be on a 5-track EP by Jack Shields. The EP is scheduled for an August 15, 2017. It will also include "Cop Car Kids," "Unfamiliar," "Driveways," "Emma," and "May u all."

Lyrics of “Leaving California” by Jack Shields (some best guesses)
Pack the suitcase
Bring the smog
Leaving California for my home
Fill a jar with that ocean air
Setting sail with salt up in my hair

But the ink is on the paper
And the writing’s on the wall
I got silver in my pockets
And the sun within my heart
I got no enemies
And the ocean’s just so blue
But I'm leaving California
For you

Start the wagon and get me out of LA
She said don't look back
Unless you plan to stay
And all I is is rain
On the run away

Elementary eloquence
You are the wall
We cut the fence
I’m looking at the fifth break for the cold
Run my hand through your hair
A twist of fate the clear the air
I Know, you know

Now I'm livin’
In a place I won't call home
Suddenly my bones don't rest so young

So I ask you all to listen
Don't tread upon her faults
And the stories that she gives you
Play them through the halls
Your Majesty
You gave me all I got to lose
But I'm leaving California
For you

No comments:

Post a Comment