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Single Review: Ron Brunk – “Now Repeating”

Hesitant but as riddled with humility as the words it helps to project are, the elegiac tempo in Ron Brunk’s “Now Repeating” speaks to a frigid emotionality becoming more and more common in our modern age. Social lives are weaponized and subsequently digitalized while secrets both open and buried deep the same follow us more like shadows now than they ever did before, and as our leading man lyrically describes navigating the toxicity of the world amidst an endless barrage of artificiality, he manages to encapsulate the very essence of an earth left torn apart by greed.

“Now Repeating” skews contemporary reflections with a superbly surreal cocktail of spoken word and mild songcraft, yielding something defiantly alternative to a mainstream pop look most audiences are familiar with in 2023. Compositionally, this is a single that seamlessly introduces us to a maturing songwriter in Brunk more than deserving of the buzz his career has been garnering since the debut of his more melodic work. He’s unguarded here, and ready to befriend the creative chaos others would just as soon shy away from when posed with it in or outside of the studio.

This verse is undeniably stirring, and it’s pushed forth with such a top-heavy assault from the EQ element in the mix that we’re forced to appreciate the ensuing discord this produces. There’s fragility in Brunk’s vocal that is never watered down by the ambitiousness of his backdrop, nor the occasionally venomous statements he assembles with masterful poetic precision.

The commentary in “Now Repeating” feels scathing yet personal enough for us to know that he isn’t drawing inspiration from headlines or stories not of his own making, to begin with – which has been a surprisingly common problem I’ve encountered as a critic this year. Brunk’s words lash and batter us with realities even he doesn’t sound completely comfortable admitting, but it’s his reticent tone that authenticates every verse he speaks to us in this spoken word song. The war-torn tone contributes to an ominousness that would otherwise have been missing from the grander scheme of things were it not for the inclusion of such a blunt aesthetic, but nothing here is strong enough to negate the presence of warmth found at the end of every anti-cathartic statement.

Ron Brunk delivers what I can only describe as the provocative concept single we needed to hear this summer in “Now Repeating,” and if you weren’t already following his output before giving it a spin, I have a feeling this track will put him on your radar indefinitely. The charisma he affords this piece is something to marvel at whether you’re big on alternative music or not, and while it initially feels geared towards a college crowd exclusively, there’s nothing in “Now Repeating” so antiestablishment that it couldn’t appeal to a curious mainstream audience as well. This is one of the more exciting times in history to be an audiophile, and poignant independent players like Brunk are the very reason why. His studio heroics are admirable, and if they translate well on stage, he could become a top attraction much sooner than many of his young contemporaries would.

Kelly McKinnon

About Michael Stover

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