Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

What’s On The TV? By Blackaby

High Notes

By Ron Powers

What’s On The TV? By Blackaby

Every now and then I like to do a musical deep dive and scour the internet for hardly-heard-of gems written by obscure musicians that I think deserve more ears to please. This month I’m bringing you a lovely two minute and eight second treat by a talented London based act called Blackaby. The name of the tune is “What’s On The TV?”.  It’s Blackaby’s third song released to digital platforms and, in my opinion, their best.

This song has an upbeat and charming vibe reminiscent of 80s new wave and dream pop with some early 2000s garage rock thrown in. I appreciate its easy breezy melody delivery contrasted against gritty yet dreamy guitars and drums. “What’s On The TV?” is a multidimensional song which delivers a chill, exciting, and smart feeling all at once. Singer/songwriter William Blackaby says, “It’s a silly song about funny moments, sad moments, and uncertain love.”

The production quality of “What’s On The TV?” is wonderfully imperfect. It sports a gnarly bed of analog floor noise under the mix and guitars that were played through REAL amps in a REAL room. I had such a nice time listening to this charming little song. Although I enjoy any well written tune, it’s becoming more and more difficult to come by new music that doesn’t sound like it’s been laser sculpted by computers. This is part of why “What’s On The TV?” is a refreshing rarity on a musical landscape that is sounding less and less human all the time.   

The lyrics for this song make little attempt to be showy or profound. Instead Blackaby has chosen to highlight a bit of the humdrum side of existence. It’s this glorification of the everyday that gives Blackaby a bit of punk rock credibility. The lines “is there milk in the fridge” and “is the bathroom pretty clean” put a shine on the day to day slog like only rock and roll can. Also, the line “And I’m wondering if you’re still in love with me” gives expression to the quiet fears all of us have felt in relationships.

The musical arrangement for “What’s On The TV?” begins with a grungy rhythm guitar banging away on a single chord. Then we hear a loose and fuzzy bass guitar and snappy overdriven drums join the party. This arrangement is topped off with an incredibly catchy lead vocal which has a lovely doubled sound with slap back echo and reverb. The vocal is processed further with a thick distortion giving it a full-bodied sound all without losing definition. Blackaby also add a charming female harmony which lends a lovely feminine touch to an otherwise masculine sounding song.

There is not a single dull moment in this song. Songwriter William Blackaby says, “It’s short so you don’t get bored.” I was certainly not board listening to “What’s On The TV?”. I must have replayed it ten times when I first discovered it. If you’d like to learn more about Blackaby you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you’d like to hear more of their music you can find it on Spotify Apple Music, YouTube and most platforms digital music is streamed or sold.

Ron Powers is an independent A&R Specialist and music industry consultant who is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.

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