British songwriter and photographer J.C. Wrightson’s stark songs are instantly ear catching. Deceptively simple on first listen, they are minimalist in nature, and grainy in texture, and it is there, in that bit of a blur, that you feel the rub: Wrightson’s songs are not as simple as they sound, not simply sad, not simply vulnerable. They are those things, but they are also something more. A finger crooking, not so much in invitation, but to indicate direction: it is here, look here, in the seam of the song. Listen to the words, and also, listen to the words that are missing.
Something existential this way comes, disguised as an emo neo folk song.
J.C. Wrightson’s brief Twitter bio mentions that he’s living in Stockholm, but that’s pretty much all I know about his personal life. I started this post months ago, and tonight Wrightson’s website is down, so I can’t include the bio that I’d made a note about, the one that I apparently thought was, “as romantic as they come.”
Hopefully I can find out more about J.C. Wrightson in the future and update this post, but I’ve already waited too long to get this song up. Here’s The Tree, recorded live in Carlisle, UK. After you listen to it, you may want to check out the music video below. Nothing is Forever had me holding my breath, waiting to see what would happen—and so much happens, and nothing happens. Beautiful, and heartbreaking, and like The Tree, the video for Nothing is Forever is deceptively simple, and a killer.
When I heard the opening keyboard arpeggios of Push to Start by Domingos Muekalia Jr. aka Starranko I instantly fell in love with the song. Amazing what a few notes can do. Yep, I was already hooked before The Hook, the lyrical hook, even started.
The vocal has yet another melodic line behind it that I love almost as much as the first one. It’s reminiscent of an old New Order melody. Need I say more?
Eminem’s 8 Mile—the movie and the record—R. Kelly, Kanya West . . . rap artists amaze me. The sheer amount of words they use blows me away, as does the gymnastic phrasing common to so many of their songs.
It’s the subtle phrasing of some of the lyrics in Push to Start that made me want to listen to the song over and over. Just the way Starranko says, “Push to Start”, the slight bend to the words, that little bit of curve—that’s what I love, that’s what’s irresistible to me. And the story behind Push to Start is just as vital. Domingos Muekalia told me,
“The inspiration for the song came over this past summer when I was going to quit making music. But when I went over to Portugal to visit my family I felt this strong connection with music and the country as a whole and felt a rebirth. As I was over there I had the beat with me and began writing lyrics to it and kind of just went from there.”
Starranko I’m so glad you didn’t quit music, and I’m just going to say something to you and all the writers and musicians reading this—
Never give up.
You may need new inspiration, but that’s not hard to find. Just come here. Or look out your window. Or in your journal. Watch a movie.
Whatever it takes. As an encouraging editor once said to me, KEEP GOING.
Domingos Muekalia Jr. was born and raised in Falls Church, VA and says he has “a burning passion for music of all genres, except country—sorry that I’m not sorry about that.” He’s been inspired by Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Nirvana, Jay Z, Tupac, Biggie, Eminiem, and Radiohead. He says he “tries to blend different genres and sounds into a unique style that is all my own.” He succeeds.
So go ahead. Push to start.
We pull up off the lot where that button at? It’s Push to Start! Haters talkin shit wanna put a bullet in my heart We pull up off the lot where that button at? it’s push to start! Haters talkin shit, wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart!
Bro I got tenacity coupled by veracity that gave me the audacity to make my own odd ass city You still with me come and get me, you know life ain’t really fair wanna have a nightmare ight then I’ll take you there Now you see who I be skinnier B.I.G. May as well be waldo y’all can’t even find me! Come try me I’ll lay you down kindly career need an I.V. bitch stay hiding Rap like an M4 or semi automatic slow down the flow to make this shit more dramatic Put this on my life i be killin every stanza you’ll see who’s the boss but I am not tony danza Yeah I be the man huh? niggaz know the plan duh takin over the game so put that in your planner See so many pigs got me feel in like an angry bird catapulting to the top with like each and every word clearing every hurdle flowing like I’m squirtle I’m a strain on your brain like a mental girdle Deck your halls with my balls I’m join balls to walls with the beast of music sheets yeah we came from churches falls paint it black very vivid like a picture only thing that got more verses is the holy scripture yeah take a picture swag gin every day just know I got the most art call me Amadeus
Hook: We pull up off the lot where that button at? It’s Push to Start! Haters talkin shit wanna put a bullet in my heart We pull up off the lot where that button at? it’s push to start! Haters talkin shit, wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart put a bullet in my heart These haters talking shit wanna put a bullet in my heart!
When I rap like this niggaz cease to exist but they can find peace in the other haters midst when I rhyme and rip mothafuckas gonna trip like they got two feet “that’s some clever shit” Cuz my thoughts stay full in the spot where we mobbin pull up on a nigga like he Christopher Robin No change, I only carry bills Competition’s alive, I’d rather kill they’re wills Gawddamn I am who I am if you don’t like that then run and tell the man but this is my time nigga welcome to my avenue wealth and good health are the only things that I accrue Im just a nigga certified as certifiable bring the fight to you it dont matter if Im liable Lord like Tolkien Rings like Jordan wanna duke it out mothatfucka bring the sword then
Click the pic to go to find Starranko on iTunes. Thanks.