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Single Review: Pep Rally – “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)”

Pep Rally celebrates seizing all that life has to offer with their new music video for their latest single “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night).” The video followers two cheerleaders who journey to embrace life fully as their guided by lead singer Tommy Joyner through the autumn washed streets of Philadelphia. Joyner is the owner of, MilkBoy, a popular venue for recording sessions with artists like Lana Del Rey and James Taylor. Joyner’s venue is prominent in the current cultural renaissance happening in Philadelphia. It was only a matter of time before Joyner started making music himself. Pep Rally highlights Joyner’s musical prowess through slick beats and crisp approachable melodies that make you want to dance until the sun is rising. “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” blends the best of Pop-Rock with thought-provoking lyrics about life, making a track that stays with you after one listen.

There is something innately charismatic about Joyner’s vocal performance that makes “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” all the more dynamic. There’s an influence of the early aughts in how laid-back his vocals are that remind me of Weezer’s green album. But there is a very futuristic quality to “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” that balances out this track, making it impossible to categorize. Joyner knows exactly how to modulate his voice, bringing it forward and back, wherever the song needs it to be. This ability allows his vocals to glide through the first verse, cruise through the chorus, and deliver power during the bridge. There is so much ease and charisma in Joyner’s performance that imbues “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” with an approachable warmth. While the lyrics are layered and somewhat mystical in nature the melody remains dance-friendly and upbeat. This inherent juxtaposition makes the questions being posed not so serious and easier to process.

 

 

“Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” encourages its listeners to make the most of any given moment but it also asks what we would do if it was our last. The music video expertly captures the two different responses we could have when life gets frustrating. In the first scenario the cheerleader embraces the night, turning around her angst by enjoying its magic. In the second,  she continues to lean into her frustrations, ignoring all the joy the night could bring her. The cheerleader (and her friend) pick up Joyner who guides her back to the lighter side of life. Visually the positive scenarios are lit brightly featuring enriched colors that show off how breathtaking autumn is in Philadelphia. While the negative outlook is seen through a murky filter that seems to suck all the joy and color out of life. The fact that Joyner guide’s her back to the positive, highlights his lyric about finding the silver lining masterfully. (“And if it was the last night on Earth/And we knew we were dying…/Would you hide from the terror?/Or, try to find the silver lining?”.)

The opening lyrics of “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” caught my attention immediately, “Where is the magic in the world today?/What if we found it in our yard?/What if we poured it onto this road we’re on?/What if we grabbed the wheel and lived life till we’re gone?”. This instantly got me thinking about my own life and the state of the world which can seem very bleak, as of late. Pep Rally touches on something so important with these opening lyrics, what if the magic had been right there all along? How often is it, that the answer to our problems has been hiding in plain sight? “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” is a beautiful song about finding magic in life and applying it to your daily life. Often, magic can feel like its hiding from us or is only reserved for specific occasions but Pep Rally is asking you to reevaluate that. There is beauty in the mundane and often there is magic hiding in the most unexpected places which is why the questions being posed in “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” are so impactful. As Joyner croons about what I would do if it was my last night on earth, would I enjoy it or would I freeze, I found myself contemplating that deep-cut question long after this track ended.

Between the songs messages and the poignant music video “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” will bring you joy and some delicious food-for-thought. Pep Rally is at the beginning of a very promising musical career that will no doubt continue to push the boundaries of what pop-rock can do. “Turn The Radio Up (Own The Night)” will get you wanting to embrace your life with just one listen. Pep Rally has made a powerful and light hearted track about living life to the fullest and finding the silver lining. Make sure you check out the music video for this uplifting track!

 

Erica Ainge

About Michael Stover

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