Review by Emily Smith
“[The song] is about being around/in love with a self-destructive person,” explains multi-instrumentalist and Ohio native Marcus Alan Ward on his latest single “Faster.” “It’s kind of like watching a car crash: It’s a terrible image, but you can’t really take your eyes off of it.” This magnetic electro-soul track represents what it feels like to be in the passenger seat with that self-destructive person.
Throughout the track, a car is a heavily referenced symbol. The person driving it is speeding up, not caring about her safety, and engaging in behavior that will cause her to crash. While this person is obviously manning the vehicle, the lyrics reveal that the passenger is also feeling self-blame for not being able to prevent this behavior. Ward sings, “She couldn’t slow down, I couldn’t catch her,” and “’Are you out of control?’ I should have asked her,” showing some guilt over her situation.
While still indulging in a very synth-heavy sound often associated with very fast-paced, fun pop songs, the track still manages to add an element of sadness and regret that complements the lyrics and meaning. The vocals, for instance, are one of the more soulful elements of the track. They are dipped in effects that allow them to meld with the electronic instrumentation, while also creating a more despondent tone in the song. Ward’s style of singing does not have a lot of intonation, which in turn gives off a more depressed, sensitive vibe.
Meanwhile, the beat and instrumentation add a surprisingly vulnerable element to the song. The track opens with a smooth electric guitar and quick electronic pulses before Ward’s vocals make an appearance, along with snapping fingers. The song transitions to a synth-heavy break in the song, driven by the electro-infused beat. In a sense, this break fits the theme of speed in the song, as it is one of the more fast-paced moments on the track. The track ends on a softer note, as the instrumentation becomes less intense until it eventually fades out before Ward sings “…faster.” This ending definitely allows for some very real emotion to come through during the finals moments of the track.
What is striking about the track is the number of influences that subtly bleed into the overall sound. Marcus Alan Ward, before delving into his signature electro-soul sound, performed in several bands playing in genres such as soul, jazz, and hip-hop. There are definitely qualities of those genres infused into his sound. For instance, the vocals take inspiration from soul while elements of hip-hop are laced throughout the instrumentation, making the track a captivating listen.
“Faster” is sure to grab the attention of anyone looking for a gripping electro-soul song that doesn’t sacrifice emotion for a synth-heavy sound.
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