“Bookmark” by Sam LevinAcoustic guitars swarm us in droves, each set seemingly brighter and livelier than the ones that came before them, until we’re completely immersed in the glowing vibrancy of “Bookmark,” the new single from Sam Levin, and the transcendent harmonies that act as its framework. The strings are littered with a childlike vitality that is intoxicatingly emotional and vividly textured, but they aren’t the only essence of magic inducing wonderment in this song. Levin croons from behind the microphone while dispatching these vivacious grooves, and in an effort to prevent them from getting lonely, he saturates them in a romantic melodicism that’s marked by an earnest attitude that is startlingly absent from the majority of American pop music in 2019, for reasons that I’ll never fully understand.

The poetry that serves as the lyrics for “Bookmark” is personal and intimate, but it’s far from the self-centered dribble that has become sufficient for the bulk of mainstream pop singers enjoying the comfortable luxuries of a major label contract. You can tell that Levin is being real with us, imparting a piece of himself to the listeners in this track that isn’t tethered to the commercial aspect of being a recording artist at all. He sings with a passion in his voice that is as relatable as seeing a smile on a stranger’s face, and though he’s still getting his footing in the international pop music circuit, there’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s going to achieve massive success in the years to come – and that’s going off of what he’s done in this single alone.

SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/user-684279379/bookmark

Factoring in Levin’s previous efforts, there’s really no argument that critics – or anyone for that matter – could make against his imminent ascent through the Billboard charts, but for those who needed a little extra evidence, the textured, sensational rhythm in this track definitely goes a long way towards proving what most of us have already known to be true. There’s a surprisingly big hook nestled in between the ridges that define the chorus, and without skipping a beat, Levin adapts the groove of the song to match the emotion in his vocal. That’s something that performers twice his age often fail to pull off in their radio-ready material, and his studious execution in this song is something that his slightly less-skilled contemporaries would likely learn a lot from.

Sam Levin looks like one of the most talented artists to emerge from the New York underground in a long time right now, and his sound is quickly finding a home on the national level thanks to the accessibility and melodicism that he demonstrates in “Bookmark.” Anyone who has been keeping up with indie pop as of the last few years has heard something about the tonality that this teenage singer/songwriter sports in everything that he releases, and in this latest single, he exhibits an evolving stylization that, to be perfectly honest, I’m incredibly eager to hear more of. Levin is really on top of his game right now, and from what I’m hearing in “Bookmark,” he’s nowhere near plateauing.

 Michael Rand

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