Saturday Grim - 'Midnight Fun'

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 edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Saturday Grim, an independent multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, vocalist, and producer. Essentially, he’s a one man band. His new project ‘Midnight Fun’ is a dozen track excursion through what the performer calls “pop-horror.” The album is out now, available on Spotify and on Saturday Grim’s website. Is it worth a spin and inclusion in one’s indie music collection? Let’s delve into it and find out!

‘Midnight Fun’ opens with ‘11:11,’ a track that sets the tone for Saturday Grim’s record with infectious pop sung with a tenor voice. It’s very reminiscent of the kind of music that was abundantly popular in the early 2000s, an era when bands like My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco reigned supreme. ‘11:11’ has a sharp hook, it’s well-produced, and it embodies what I like to call the “wham, bam, thank you, ma'am style.” It’s short and to the point; it gets in and gets out without ostentatious fanfare.

It’s worth noting that the horror imagery in Saturday Grim’s brand of pop rock isn’t exactly scary. The lyricism of ‘28 Days,’ for example, is a lighthearted jaunt through a “city of the living dead” and Saturday Grim’s escapades through sending a legion of zombies back to hell. It’s less along the lines of Marilyn Manson and more along the lines of ‘Monster Mash.’ (Which is okay; I’d hate to see Saturday Grim take this too seriously. It wouldn’t be a great look.)

‘Midnight Fun,’ the track, chronologs young love in a very ‘high school’ way, as two young lovers play in a park in the evening. It’s very much worth noting that this is music young people will enjoy. If you aren’t in high school, or arguably even younger, ‘Midnight Fun’ is going to a laughable jaunt through cliche and nostalgia. You’re not the target audience, and thus, I can’t really knock the album for that.

‘Crazy Lady’ is probably the album’s one track that could have been left on the cutting room floor. It’s just over a minute of a repetitive hook, one that breaks the tone of the album with a fairly unnecessary f-bomb. (Though to be fair, Saturday Grim does keep that up in subsequent tracks.) The playful ‘My Girlfriend’s a Vampire’ is a more successful effort soon after, even if the song literally drops reference to places like Chuck E. Cheese’s. (I'm not sure if there's a way to date yourself further, but it's all part of the album's style, I suppose.)

‘Family Matters’ is likely one of the album’s better tracks. It actually explores some fairly poignant subject matter, something that’s certainly different than anything in the sequence before it. In a unique way, though, it aligns with the rest of the album well. ‘Midnight Fun’ is, in some ways, a coming of age effort. It’s about youthful love and optimism, albeit wrapped in a ‘horror’ mask. Families far apart, though, and that’s one of the earliest harsh realities some young people deal with.

‘The Babysitter’ has an interesting production, one that incorporates brass sections, a beautifully performed interlude, and some bombastic percussion. It’s one of the best performances on the record. Similarly, ‘Dear Beth’ is one of the best electric guitar performances on ‘Midnight Fun,’ exploring Saturday Grim’s knack for penning solid riffs. ‘Dear Beth’ is actually a very solid ballad, too. It sounds like it could be an unreleased modern day Weezer single.

‘Run Away’ is one the wittiest tracks on the LP, chock-full entirely of ‘Star Wars’ references. Perhaps Saturday Grim has just stuck a chord within my inner-geek, but ‘Run Away’ is one of the most lovable efforts of the twelve. ‘The Plague’ then follows, toying with some apocalyptic imagery while also making an expression of youthful rebellion and desire to break out of one’s bubble.

As Saturday Grim reaches the climax of ‘Midnight Fun,’ ‘Doomsday’ offers a glimpse into the artist’s interpretation of the last day on Earth. “Enjoy the last sunrise as the world dies,” he sings. The finale of the album, ‘Same Damn Thing,’ though, hops back to reality as Saturday Grim sings about wanting out of his dead-end town.

This is an album for really young people. Kids in junior high and younger high schoolers will find quite a bit to relate to here. This album isn’t directed toward me, so I can’t knock it for being abundantly cliche for me. For its target audience, I think it’s a well-produced effort that explores lots of common youthful themes: rebellion, frustration, love, family matters, and so on and so forth. Saturday Grim is an excellent one man band, and everything sounds like it’s a full band of multiple people performing. That’s a high compliment for any solo muscian.