Better Than That” the new single from CEEM
With an eruption of decadent synthesized noise, “Better Than That,” the new single from CEEM, comes into focus and emits an elegant melodicism that will grow in size and strength in its next three and a half minutes of play. It doesn’t take very long for the song to find its pendulous rhythm, which slowly but surely drags us asunder and into a vortex of harmonies that are distinctly emotional in tone. There’s nothing to stop CEEM from crushing us with the weight of his words and their adjoined grooves, but instead he uses the depth of his poetry in this track to make us feel a little less alone in a time where it’s never been easier to become wrapped up in the negativity of the world.
The verses unravel before us patiently, never interrupting the steady flow of the instrumentation in the background that, in my opinion, does the majority of the communicative heavy-lifting in this single. Although it would have been just as prudent to do so, CEEM doesn’t hide his vocal behind the bassline – his voice is at the top of this mix, peppering the melodies with an emotive context that gives their moody textures a deeper meaning that anyone from novice audiophiles to seasoned pop connoisseurs can appreciate. The buildup to the chorus isn’t particularly brutish, but there is definitely a muscularity to the rhythm here that makes every beat even more impactful than the one that came only seconds before it.
Once we get into the chorus of “Better Than That,” CEEM’s words offer us a little bit of cathartic reassurance, which isn’t all that common in emo-inspired music of any style. This song definitely leans more towards his electronica influences than it does the pioneers of post-punk that helped to define so much of his approach to songwriting, and explicitly, his lyricism. The synths and the bassline, as well as the percussion, are telling the full story in this single, and it’s only through their patterned arrangement that we’re able to understand what CEEM is actually trying to get across to us here, beneath the self-conscious verses and polished vocal harmonies. He isn’t content to impart his message to us the same way that his forerunners would have; he’s firing on all cylinders and using every tool at his disposal in this song.
“Better Than That” concludes simply, fading into the darkness from which it first arose with only the echo of its chorus remaining in the atmosphere after the track has ceased to play. I must admit that, while I had some reasonable expectations coming into this review, I was pleasantly surprised to find that CEEM’s first single in years is actually a lot better than some of his past material was. He isn’t getting back into music to resurrect a failed dream, but to finish something that he started a long time ago – the merger of two genres, emo and electronica – and with nothing more than his own creative moxie, he’s delivering one of the best songs of the year thus far in this awesome new track.