Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Premiere: Joel Michael Howard’s “Something Different”

May 12, 2015

Joel Michael Howard’s clip for “Something Different” is indeed something different. I didn’t really understand it until I got to the end, when I had a sudden burst of ’90s nostalgia. I don’t know if it was the hackey sack, the Windows 95 screensavers, the goofy dancing, or Howard’s quirky entrances and exits; maybe it was all of that together. But the result is a charming, smile-inducing clip that I can’t help but like.

The song itself is an unusual breed as well: Howard combines soft-rock keys with funky bass and guitar rhythms, then layers gentle, breathy vocals on top of it. It feels like a modern person trying to recreate ’80s pop and ending up with a cross between Hall & Oates* and Graceland. I know, that sounds like a horrible mix, but Howard pulls the whole thing off with a convincing confidence. It’s just as winsomely engaging as the accompanying video. Check it.

Joel Michael Howard’s Love as First Response came out in March on the Ernest Jenning Record Company.

*I can’t pinpoint why it reminds me of Hall & Oates, but it totally does. The production quality? The oohs? The bass tone? Whatever it is, the gut says yes, so it goes in the article.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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