Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be delving into a new single from Jordan Carroll, a young rising artist hailing from Phoenix. His new tune is ‘You Know That I Know,’ a suave, easy listening rock ballad with a host of other influences as well. We’re getting an early look at it, so you’ll be able to snap it up on September 1. (It will also debut with an exceptionally shot music video.) Now, though, let’s dig into the song.
Carroll aligns his music with acoustic blues and easy listening lounge rock. That’s more or less accurate, but there’s a lot more at play. I’d actually align him with R&B as well, even perhaps pop rock. His lyrical and vocal style have a pop sensibility to them that makes his music both infectiously catchy and incredibly accessible. It isn’t music you have to put much thought into, and it doesn’t ask for much in return. It’s easy, lighthearted, and fitting for a myriad of settings.
Lyrically, the song is a pop rock love ballad. It isn’t terribly deep, but it is well penned. There’s an art to writing a hook; Carroll is on his way to mastering that art. Musically, the instrumentation is elegantly sparse. The percussion is on mark, the electric guitar riffing is excellent, and the mix is well organized. I do want to touch on his vocals, though. He’s a good singer, but he may not be your cup of tea. Carroll is one of those high pitched crooners that can give you a headache if it’s not your thing. (A good rule of thumb - Don’t like frontmen like Adam Levine? This may not be your speed.)
I’ll briefly touch on the music video since it is an integral part of this release. It’s not out yet, so check out Carroll’s website for details and release info. I did have the opportunity to catch the full video, however, and it is remarkably well shot. It’s certainly on par with any other professional music videos I’ve seen in recent years, and it’s miles better than most other independent videos. The video takes inspiration from the song’s creative direction: it’s equally as sparse and calculated, but finely tuned and immensely fitting.
Carroll has a whole lot of potential and this single taps it in a few different ways. I’d love to see what he can do with some deeper lyrical content, but ‘You Know That I Know’ is a superb exhibition of his pop chops. His vocals won’t be for everyone; they aren’t particularly up my alley, in honesty. They do most certainly have a place, though, and Carroll finds that place well and occupies it authentically. Check out the song when it comes out on September 1 and keep updated with Carroll online at the links below.