Judging from PrintS JacKsoN’s debut single Beauty of the Living, it sounds as though someone’s being listening to Daft Punk rather a lot recently. ‘But everyone’s been listening to Daft Punk rather a lot recently!’, you cry – this may be true, but it seems that the British solo artist has let the French electronica duo influence him a huge amount.
A sparse drum beat leads into a funk bassline in the introduction. The piano then begins, and Beauty of the Living suddenly sounds awfully similar to Give Life Back to Music from Random Access Memories. Then enters some distorted vocals which also sound a lot like the latter. Now it’s starting to become clear which artist influences PrintS JacKsoN.
The pre-chorus brings with it some neat riffs played on what sounds like a guitar, but could also easily have been played on a synthesiser. Trying to figure out which instrument these notes are indeed from is probably the most interesting part of the record.
Distorted vocals produce a great electronica effect, but also mean that the lyrics can be hard to make out. The ones that can be heard, however, aren’t particularly inventive – ‘It’s this beauty that’s turning our world upside down’. Despite this, it’s difficult to not end up humming/singing/whistling the track as it plays – it’s a simple pop song that works. The subtle backing vocals in the chorus add to the pop sound that PrintS creates in this track.
That said, it is hard to overlook the parallels it draws to existing songs. For example, the end portion where the lyrics ‘do what we want to be happy’ are repeated has almost the exact same melody as the hit Get Lucky (by Daft Punk, of course). Granted, being influenced by an artist is incredibly important, and of course it could be merely coincidence that these tracks sound so similar, but creating a song that sounds near identical to an existing record could suggest a lack of innovation. This causes the track to be rather vapid – PrintS JacKsoN will have to use his forthcoming LP to prove that producing remakes of existing songs is not the only way he can write material.
The fantastic production on this track must be mentioned – the multiple layers of vocals, distortion, synth and piano amongst drums and backing vocals go hand in hand smoothly enough to produce a highly polished end track – none of its aspects have been overlooked. It feels finished.
This is a decent debut for PrintS JacKsoN. If listening to it whilst preoccupied, one might enjoy it more than when concentrating on it fully, for this is when it becomes apparent that, sonically, it is distinctly similar to other tracks, coincidentally or not. However, this is certainly an artist capable of making a good pop song, and that must not be forgotten. All that remains is to see if his LP will be Random Access Memories Mark II, or a debut that has stemmed from his own imagination and talent.