Review by Ashley Friedman
Dylan Dunlap, an LA-Native currently working his way up the indie-music ladder, has just released a new single “Clockwise,” a powerful, yet, subtle anthem for anyone in need of a reminder that time moves forward, not backward.
The song starts with a solid instrumental drum beat accompanied by an electric guitar, you can hear the subtle sound of a cymbal off in the distance. The drums eventually fade into the background, and we’re left with the electric guitar playing a string of chords as Dylan enters with his vocals.
“One of my favorite moments during the early stage of ‘Clockwise’ was when Ben (drummer/producer) and I messed around with an electric guitar at his house. He pressed record and I basically played whatever I thought would sound catchy in a chorus,” says Dylan.
Powerful, yet subtle, Dylan’s voice reminds us of The Script’s lead singer, Danny O’Donoghue. He has the ability to immediately captivate people with the soft, yet rawness of his voice, with just a simple beat in the background.
Dylan comments with, “The instant I thought of that first lead part you hear in the intro of the song,” Ben squealed in excitement so loud that the noise somehow traveled through the pickup of the guitar and created a really cool sample for us! You can hear him right at 0:40.”
With lyrics like “We’re all growing old” and “I wish I could find myself / Some thicker skin / Am I breaking down again,” gives us an idea that the singer is questioning whether he’s in the right place in life. As if to say, “Am I doing it all right? Is this where I’m supposed to be?”
Then we cut to the chorus which continuously reiterates the idea of giving yourself a pick me up when you’re stuck questioning yourself. With such a powerful beginning, you would expect a burst into the chorus vocally and instrumentally, but it’s the complete opposite and it works. Dunlap takes it back a notch with a slight pause after the last line before the chorus begins and transitions into this very light, fresh feel of vocalization.
The chorus’s lyrics, “I just need a little pick me up / something to make it through this drive / so when I’m stuck I’ll remind myself / that time forever moves clockwise,” reminds us that we’re not getting any younger, time forever moves clockwise and to think positive about the future. Which is tough sometimes, right? We get stuck in a slump, we think negative, we feel like surviving is impossible and it’s in these moments that you have to give yourself a pick me up like Dylan says.
After the second play through the chorus, we’re brought into this very intimate moment in the song. The lyrics, “All these moments pass / losing our faith / we’re not getting out of our own way,” are almost whispered by Dunlap who has a choir shadowing behind his vocals to add to the buildup of this line being repeated over and over again until we’re brought to the very peak of the vocals.
It’s here that Dylan drops down to a stripped version of the chorus with just a steady clap and a surprise jingle from the tambourine as the background “instrumental.” It’s almost like at this moment, we’re rejoicing in a church, singing at the top of our lungs, and truly believing what we’re singing.
If you don’t feel like you can go out and accomplish anything in the world after listening to this song, then you need to put it on replay. Production-wise, it’s extremely well put together, the vocals balance out beautifully with the instrumentals, and the lyrics actually tell a story.
Follow Dylan Dunlap