“19” by Taylor Jules
In her new single “19,” pop singer/songwriter Taylor Jules puts all of the focus on her heavenly harmonies, and by wagering on herself she winds up raking in a bigger creative payday than some would have expected from an indie player. Steeped in heady vocal melodies that swirl around in an almost angelic fashion, “19” has the bones of a traditional pop song, but its cosmetics have a lot more in common with alternative themes than the commercial side of pop would ever stand for. Simply put, this is a great look for any performer, let alone someone with the kind of talent this young woman has.
The lyrical content here is sublimely on-point and devoid of the silly metaphorical nonsense that frequently comes between an artist and the audience, but there’s a surreal overtone to Taylor Jules’s delivery just the same. She’s straddling the groove in this track with perfect precision, but her actual part in the harmonies is a lot dreamier than any of the instrumental components ever could be. “19” isn’t a throwback post-punk track, but you can see where it could have been if given just a little more of the artsy edge we find in the very construction of its sleek arrangement.
I love the mild tonality of the percussion, mostly because it doesn’t impede on any of the melodic elements in the song. Whether Jules is working against the groove or riding it into the horizon – closer to the conclusion of the track – there’s always an interplay between her voice and the drums that keep us on the edge of our seats, wondering what this tension is going to produce in the next stanza. Forging a mood is everything in this genre of music, and it’s something Taylor Jules is already more than adept at.
This master mix is pretty streamlined by comparison to the actual structure of this single, but there aren’t any parts in the song that I would describe as being muddy or run-together in some halfhearted attempt at aesthetical amalgamation. “19” draws us in with as much detail as it does specific points of interest like the vocal harmony or even the lyrics on their own, and in creating as collective a force out of the hook as possible, Jules was able to circumvent a lot of the issues that her peers face when producing similarly ambitious content of their own.
Taylor Jules has devoted most of her life to music, and when I listen to her latest single, I think it shows. She’s got so much passion with the mic in her hand, and while she isn’t a household name just yet, she’s presenting herself as a consummate professional in “19” without ever translating as arrogant or self-centered in her style of play. This is a good time to be a fan of the international indie pop beat, and if you ask me, the biggest reason why are artists like Jules, who are steering clear of commerciality in favor of making honest artistry their entire mission.