Cemetery by Run River North

High Notes

By Ron Powers

Cemetery by Run River North

Los Angeles based band “Run River North”, also known as RRN, recently released their fourth single of 2020, titled “Cemetery”. The song highlights the exciting and timid first steps toward love between two people as their relationship blossoms. The characters in the song find themselves at a cemetery at midnight with singer Alex Hwang expressing his wish to “slow the whole world down.” I liken the emotion of this song to a cozy rainy day or a fresh quiet morning with coffee. It creates a warm and fuzzy feeling in the listener like only a love song can. Singer Alex Hwang’s relaxed and mellow vocal performance is delivered over a bed of chilled out guitars, rich bass, atmospheric synths, and crisp drums. Everything comes together to deliver a sweet and catchy feeling that I thoroughly enjoy.

“Cemetery” begins with the syncopated strumming of an acoustic guitar. Next a dual lead vocal, reminiscent of the band “Death Cab For Cutie”, is introduced with Alex Hwang and Sally Kang delivering the first lines. Halfway through the first verse, an electric guitar is layered in alongside the acoustic guitar playing the same rhythm which adds a subtle lift. As the pre-chorus begins, bass and drums are introduced adding excitement without taking away from the chill vibe of the song. For the chorus, reverb-soaked backing vocals are introduced which carry a melody that reminds me a little of Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”. A bell-like synthesizer is also included on the chorus which follows and harmonizes with the lead vocal and adds bits of new melody as well. Next, tasteful musical variations are delivered for the second verse and pre-chorus which lead to an extended chorus and one last charming verse to finish the song.

The lyrics for “Cemetery” were inspired by a date lead singer Alex Hwang took his now wife on. In an interview, speaking of the date that inspired the song, Hwang said, “I suggested going to a cemetery that I had always wanted to go to, as if it was like going to the beach or on a hike. She later told me she was obviously a little weirded out. [But] we went, and I felt I got to tell her a secret about myself without having to say anything.” The lyrics are simple, easy to follow, and tell a thoughtful story of new love. The first lines of the song set the stage nicely: “was a Tuesday in the summer, when you started sleeping on my couch, and I lost track of the details, of what is and what isn’t allowed.” RRN show off an impressive storytelling ability with this song in that minimal words are used to express much. With just a handful of verses, the band manages to communicate an ocean of meaning in a way that most can relate to.

According to Alax Hwang, Run River North has lots of new music in the pipeline so be on the lookout for new songs from the band soon. If you’d like to learn more about RRN, you can find them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’d like to listen to their music, you can find them on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold.

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