Track by Track: ;john | Clump | Sever | Drops | Good Worker | Play | In Due Order | Idle Talk | Rascal | Kill
Iambountyfan.com is arguably the biggest gathering of fans and driving force of user generated content and insightful information in regards to the ongoing Iamamiwhoami saga. So, it’s no surprise that an unknown member of the band dropped by the website’s chat room to leave a few cryptic messages for the individuals who happened to be logged on to the website at the time. There’s not really that much that was said beyond “we monitor everything” and the final message “and don’t forget to live…”
While it’s nice that we now have this chat room encounter and the Bullett Media interview, it seems that a bit of how they are interacting with the fans is coming across as crass. We’d like some insight into the music, into the band mates, or into something. Optimistically, this sort of interaction is a unique way of keeping their faces out of the music and allowing the art to speak entirely for itself.
Regardless, they’re good workers and the third installment since the announcement of their slated June 2012 Kin album release is appropriately titled “Good Worker”. Released March 14th, along with a video 24 hours beforehand, we find the song exploring unique vocal mixing techniques, while thriving off huge synthesizer melodies and a a quick kick-snare dance vibe that helps fuse together the electronic and pop inspired production.
Lyrically, this is one of the more straightforward songs the band has released to date with it’s focus being on the same sort of subject as “O” from the BOUNTY series. On the second verse, Jonna poses a statement and question stance: “I made a good and steady friend, a companion through life. But who am I when all I am is your designated wife?” The composition is filled with bold-confident statements and teeters upon the subject of staying with a good worker because it’s a comfortable situation (“you make a neat and tidy house, a good worker does..”) but wanting to break out and find something more (“Locking out your little mind, recognizing time as passed, ready for some further use”) and struggling with the decision on which way to move (“denial is a virtue”).
It’s easy to relate to, as the words could be applied to simply wanting to get out of any sort of situation to better oneself. Alternatively, it could be about an internal struggle as well and this also follows along with the speculation of the tracks on Kin being about separation between the imaginative and reality. Maturity, growth, and internal conflict. They’re all pointing back to some sort of sociology and also pointing right at some wonderful poetic and deeper meanings.
Melodically the track is one of the strongest. It begins with a sequenced electronic melody, oscillating pad drone, the sound of a drop in pitch that sounds like a dog’s mournful howl, and stereo main melody lines that continue to build the track before it’s break into the first verse.
Reverberation on the remainder of the track gives “Good Worker” a larger than life feel and creates the illusion, as Iamamiwhoami normally does, that there are more tracks and layers than meets the eye. Verse sections are comprised mainly of a kick, snare, synth-line, and a small supporting percussive section, which build slightly during the chorus with mid-range and high-octave melodic lines and eventually break down to a post-chorus in half-time, filled with adlibs by front woman Jonna Lee and more oscillating synthesizers.
Also, like most Iamamiwhoami tracks, the song progressively builds and breaks down, especially at the end of the track, until it leads off with an even sparser, bare bones fade out than it’s introduction’s fade in approach.
What makes “Good Worker” drive as much as it does is that the track is so melodic, and the percussion section is so simple that it’s a complex simplicity composition that compliments each other through the entire five minute duration.
To thrive off the high-energy of the track, interesting mixing techniques in the vocals. There seems to be some flange effects going on in the background vocals and it also includes a security-esque sound effect that’s present on Burial productions and the previously released “Drops” that, when combined with Jonna’s vocals, creates an extremely creative blur of frequencies. It’s a tripped-out aural scribble of sorts that is truly an awe-inspiring moment within the song.
Only one complaint comes to mind on this track is that the vocals on this track are indeed mixed at the very front of “Good Worker”. It gives the song a more pop feel, but they’re pushed so far to the front of the song that if you want to turn the song up to a high volume, the higher frequencies of all of the vocal effects and layers literally pierce the eardrums and force a hand reaching for the volume button to decrease the amplitude a little.
It seems as though Iam attempted to quickly remedy this in the second verse. If you listen closely, just as Jonna sings the line “but who am I..,” bits of the mix seem to be automated (or side-chain compressed, we’re unsure) down slightly so that frequencies don’t become muddy and distortion is avoided. It’s not the most effective approach to this sort of thing. Perhaps automating Jonna’s vocals a bit more when she’s hitting the higher notes would help to control and balance the song a little bit better.
Also, the vocals seem to be a bit heavily compressed. It’s not horrible, but again, it adds to the loudness in the mix. According to the TT Loudness Offline Meter, the iTunes download (yes, yes we know, it’s lossy format) sits at about an average of DR6. It’s not terrible for electronic music, but if just a tiny bit more care was taken into the mix – we think it could benefit “Good Worker” greatly.
Although this small problem, “Good Worker” is our favorite Iamamiwhoami track since “; John” and considering “; John” was placed as the top song of 2011 on our website, we’d say that the band is on it’s way to releasing one of the best albums we’ve heard in a long time. The next song, “Play” will be released March 28th, and our excitement level continues to be raised.
Every two weeks is like Christmas! We get songs and videos. Also, as usual, check out ForsakenOrder’s video analysis! Again, we love the visuals Iam are putting out and specifically love the small bit of sass when she refuses to sing the words “your designated wife.”
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