“I Know” by Jason Shand
Artificiality is just about everywhere you look in pop/rock these days. The FM dial is overwhelmed with a lot of halfhearted acts that just don’t have the right chops to play guitar-oriented rock nor the heart to write a good pop song, and in terms of originality, fans have been left wanting more for the better part of a generation now. Jason Shand has been lurking the shadows of the American underground for years, rejecting the very notion of selling out his creative ethos just to make the quick buck his voice is so obviously capable of yielding, and in his new single “I Know,” he further asserts himself as a singer/songwriter more invested in the substance of his craft than any self-serving payday devoid of artistic merit.
The supple instruments in “I Know” prove to be all this vocalist really needs to make a spectacle of grand proportions most any critic of the pop genre is going to immediately react to, and although he isn’t rewriting the book on hooks in this performance, his melodicism is so endearing that it stands to reawaken a fan base he’s been carrying for years (and perhaps even a new crew of listeners hungry for something fresh in their summer soundtrack).
The piano element here is one of the more subtle parts of the main harmony in the song, but to even suggest that it’s not as essential to the fluidity of the material would be to admit you never heard this track to begin with. Shand doesn’t invite any excesses into this song that don’t belong or offer something to the bigger picture he’s trying to illustrate with words and music the same, and while his vocal is always the most powerful melodic component he has on his side, it’s never bolstered by a lack of intensity from his backing band (the exact opposite, really). “I Know” sounds to me like a single that was always meant to be performed live on stage before a crowd of excited fans, and the very fact that it still feels as lusty and superior to the industry standard in this studio version says a lot about the time and effort that must have gone into making it so.
If by chance you haven’t already experienced the music of one Jason Shand yet, “I Know” could be the right song to sweep you off your feet and make you a believer in his eminence as a composer and performer. 2021 has yet to sincerely dazzle any serious critics of indie and mainstream pop music, at least on the American side of the oceans, but with the resurgence of indie players like Shand becoming increasingly difficult for even the most discriminating of journalists to ignore, I have a feeling the underground circuit is going to be enjoying a lot more international attention than anyone initially thought it would this year. “I Know” is a centerpiece song of its scene this June, and something I think every pop fanatic should have on their stereo before the true start of summer.