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Single Review: John Philbrick “Losing Out To Crazy”

John Philbrick has got a lot on his mind, and in the rocking new single “Losing Out To Crazy,” he’s getting everything off of his chest without splitting hairs when it comes to delivering a solid riff that just about any rocker could get behind this October. From the moment we hit the play button on the lyric video for this song, I think it’s pretty obvious just how much getting to the meat and potatoes of the melody mattered to this player, especially relative to what we’re getting out of the production quality for the video itself. This is a man who puts more stock into the craftsmanship of the music than the vast majority of people trying to make a name for themselves in pop have for some time now, and from where I sit, the throbbing bassline and clamoring drums of this track are exactly what the doctor ordered for a mostly thrill-deprived era in the history of independent rock music.

In “Losing Out To Crazy,” Philbrick reinterprets the gentle melodies of classic rock through a distinctively groove-centric filter that not only transcends the limits of the classic rock labeling that a lot of critics will want to assign it but also drifts elegantly into pop territories that some of his contemporaries would just be too intimidated by to even experiment with. His beats come shrouded in a cloud of smoky reverb that makes the emphasis around his voice all the more pronounced and mammoth in stature.

It’s almost a bonus that his plaintive lyrics are remarkably relatable and adventurously affectionate because, by the time we’re halfway through this track, the beat is already stuck in our head to the point where lyrics almost aren’t even required. Nonetheless, Philbrick’s golden set of pipes are just as much a star of “Losing Out To Crazy,” and they’re delicately weaved into the fabric of the instrumentation so well, that he almost fits in beside the guitar or drum kit like another instrument instead of a player. There aren’t many players who can do that, let alone operate out of the underground as this man currently is. Aesthetically, I think that John Philbrick is sort of an amalgamation of his influences, but he doesn’t sound like he’s emulating any specific parties at all.

Compared to anything I’ve heard coming from his direct competition in the mainstream, John Philbrick’s “Losing Out To Crazy” is far and away the most creatively designed and executed pop/rock single that I’ve heard from his scene thus far in 2023, and I’d like to see him give us a few more before the year is over. If he takes advantage of the current climate in the music industry, he could end up being in the exact right place and the right time to not just debut with a killer set of songs that people instantly connect with but to relaunch his career poised to almost immediately takeover the charts and stay planted there for some time to come. For what I look for in smart pop/rock, this does hit the spot.

Christian Vedder


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