Joshua Radin – Simple Times
As I’d Rather Be With You has just entered the UK charts at number 11, I thought it’s about time I introduced you to the talent that is Joshua Radin. Unlike most of my musical discoveries, Radin does not come from Australia. In fact, he’s American. That is, of course, not to say that he hasn’t toured with Missy Higgins, hence my discovery of his music last year.
Simple Times offers a great array of songs that really show off Radin’s soft vocals. He’s been compared to Jack Johnson, although I personally feel that Radin’s songs are slightly faster paced and easier to singalong to (obviously, I can still sing my heart out to Better Together.)
In the leading single I’d Rather Be With You, the chorus just screams catchiness. Radin’s soft tones are placed over simple acoustic guitar playing with some quiet drum sounds adding to the beat.
I love the semantics of Friend Like You. The lyrics are sung much like a letter. There are times when it sounds more like a poetry reading with background music, but it works. Maybe not the easiest track to singalong to, but I can still manage alright.
Brand New Day always makes me smile, simply because of it’s title and my brain’s immediate reaction to link it to Bran Nue Dae. A great song that reminds me of a great film. This song is full of optimism and is well worth a listen on those mornings when you wake up full of sorrows and regret. It reminds you that you’ll be OK. And sometimes that’s all you need to hear to force a smile and get on with your day.
My favourite song on the album? It’s got to be Vegetable Car. The story of a girl who the narrator’s never even spoken to. And yet he knows enough about her to write an entire song. He knows about her “Diesel Mercedes: Green, Two door”. It’s the simplistic nature of the song that I enjoy. The extreme details that are sung about help me to think that I’m not the only person who picks up on the little things. Finally, it makes him sound a little obsessive. And in my books, obsessive is an endearing quality. It lacks depth lyrically, but sometimes I like that. It’s refreshing in my iTunes full of songs with about twenty seven hidden meanings behind each lyric.
We Are Okay is possibly fastest paced song on the album. Reflecting the optimism of Brand New Day. it houses the title of the album. “Simple Times now seem so far” speaks of the complexity of life, and yet how we remain Ok.
One Of Those Days continues with the whole “life’s alright, why don’t you just get on with it” motto. It’s a track that’s easy to listen to, but you have to be careful not to leave it as background music. The lyrics are insightful. They speak of positivity and tell a story. Radin’s use of narrative is something that I’m particularly fond of. He knows how to tell a story and connect with a listener.
So yes, he’s another singer songwriter. But that’s what I love. He’s not the most amazing artist in my collection. But he produces music that I could happily listen to for hours. Which is good enough for me. I’m just gutted that I was away for his London gig. Hopefully he’ll return to the UK soon and I’ll get to see him play live.