“X Factor” by Jason Shand

It’s a big time for crossover content, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an outright hybrid, there’s a lot of duality in the new single “X Factor” by Jason Shand that doesn’t go unnoticed even by the untrained ear. Rather than trying to articulate a narrative using lyrics and a melody alone, Jason Shand wants to stack the deck as high as his audience is able to handle it in “X Factor,” which unwittingly results in one of the more complicated pursuits of a hook I’ve heard in any pop single released this year. Nonetheless, this quest for a center winds up taking us to some very interesting realms, all of which, I should add, this singer/songwriter seems to be more than adept at exploring with his voice.

There’s been a lot of buzz around some of the other underground players rocking a sound similar to Shand’s, such as AV Super Sunshine, and I can see where both of these particular artists share a lot of the same framework when it comes to recording procedure. The meticulousness of this piece is undeniable no matter how loud you’re listening to it, which hasn’t been true of the majority of major label offerings I have had the chance to review since the start of the year. This is content that was made by someone who is deeply invested in the story being told and, moreover, the aesthetics that are being used to tell it.

I like the way that the lyrics are situated in this arrangement, and there’s never a moment where our singer doesn’t sound like he’s getting more than adequate support from the beat. To be frank, the percussive element that Shand is leaning on in this mix doesn’t really impose itself on the melodic details as much as I would have originally expected it to, but this doesn’t prevent the entirety of the composition from having a full-bodied shape I look for in any track, let alone one closer to the pop genre than any other. He could have gone just a bit more aggressive and had even more compelling results, but a desire to remain someone unfazed by the glitz of indulgence is one worthy of respect from both critics and fans alike – especially when you look at the top tier of the charts right now.

I didn’t know anything about the man or the music Jason Shand has been making before I had a moment to sit down with “X Factor” this September, but it’s understandable why he’s been receiving the kind of buzz he has been through the late summer season. There’s a fundamental surge of experimentalism making its way into the mainstream on more than one front, and if Shand can ride this wave with any sense of success, he’s going to have access to an audience that can acknowledge his skillset for what it is. I’m interested in where he’s at now, but I think it’s going to get much better soon.

Michael Rand

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