In today’s age, technology has flooded our lives with content. Caught in the mire are modern musicians who champion an art form that’s more widely distributed than any other throughout human history. And we, more often than not, overlook the music created by unfamiliar faces because it’s challenging. We’d rather have an easy listen, a known quantity to skim through while we think about something else.
Hearing is easy, but listening is difficult. Welcome to “Why We Like It”, where we rebuke the trends in favor of thoughtful analysis and underknown sounds.
“Middle School” – Kelsey
How We Found It
Newcomer Kelsey wrote this single about the butterflies of new love with her current girlfriend and submitted it to our official CentralSauce SubmitHub page. She and her girlfriend are a multimedia team; Kelsey writes the songs while her girlfriend takes her promo and single cover art pictures. Jay Card from Pittsburgh handles production on the wavy track whose previous credits include Steel City legend Wiz Khalifa. Kelsey kept the song in the voice memos of her phone for a while, until finally deciding it was ready to work on in February of this year. As we enter into summer the timing fits the feel of the sound with ease.
Why We Like It
It’s always impressive to hear a song with peaks and valleys that always will keep your ear interested. Though she didn’t produce the track, Kelsey uses her voice as an essential part of the full composition of “Middle School.” There are only slightly more lyrics in the song, than there are hums and melodic expressions without words. These dulcet tones play off the driving percussion and sharp acoustic guitar with finesse. Maybe the simplest yet most effective example of this is in the chorus. After each individual line she sings such as, “I feel like I’m in middle school again,” Kelsey does a sort of call and response with a repeated “yeah ay.” The way these vocals are delivered gives them an almost percussive electronic quality to the simple acoustic arrangement. They truly complete what is already quite the catchy hook.
Kelsey’s melodic wordless vocals continue effectively in the bridge section. After the second iteration of the chorus all of the drums drop out and she is left with just the guitar, simple keys, and a clap. She layers an arrangement of ethereal yet direct vocal flutterings that seem to encapsulate the feeling of young love. There is an in the moment element to the section that sums up what the song is about.
The lyrics that do exist do a simple yet clever job of describing a youthful version of the honeymoon period. Kelsey in the first verse sings, “Try to solve my problems let’s pretend I got none.” She is caught up in a love she wishes to hold onto the joy of, without complications. What’s great about young love is you are without experience or expectations. It’s natural to want to attempt to keep that love conflict-less and joyous. Kelsey wants to live in this state even though there is a quality that is almost imaginary. It is disconnected with a real life day to day love with conflict and work she wishes to stay away from.
In the second verse Kelsey continues this sentiment as she sings, “Tried all other options, let’s pretend I got none.” Kelsey has noted that the song was written soon after falling in love studying abroad. In college keeping options limited is not ideal or realistic for many. However, Kelsey wished at the time to stay in the moment with this love and deny that her other possible lovers existed. This suggests she may have had unfinished feelings for other partners yet dove right in with this new love. However, she says she and this girl are still together, so young love does last sometimes even through potentially naive decision making.
Though this is a song about young and impulsive love, it sounds quite mature and thought through in how it is composed. All of the vocal and instrumental choices seem succinct and purposeful. Escape to your own memories of early 20’s infatuation and butterflies through the vibe. Or if you are in that stage of your life get lost in the relatable emotion of the melodies.
Everyone who has fallen in love before can remember the time when they first met the person they’re with. It’s a feeling that you can’t describe in words, so I tried to use music to capture that feeling. I used the comparison of being in Middle School to convey how young and naive my new girlfriend made me feel when we met. Middle School was written on the back of a boat in the Philippines. I had just met the love of my life while studying abroad in Shanghai, but we parted ways when I left for the Philippines. The longer we were apart the more crazy I was about her.” –Kelsey for CentralSauce 2020
More From Kelsey
More to Discover
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