Justin Rudolph — Make Your Move (SINGLE)

Self-conscious lyricism is incredibly common in modern pop music but rarely done right. It’s not that difficult to embrace the approach when composing a simple ballad, but using it to the effect of relating your life with that of the listeners takes something a little extra; something, dare I say, that is a natural gift rather than a refined skill. Justin Rudolph has the ability to do just that in his new single “Make Your Move,” and from where I sit, it’s enough to make the song quite the standout in a crowded pool of exciting new acoustic pop.

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The harmonies in “Make Your Move” have the most heart in them, and their deliberate gruffness actually does something to facilitate the humanity of the lyrics in a way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I like that Rudolph isn’t dressing up anything about the melodic properties in this song; he’s letting us have the full muscularity of his voice and the guitar backing him in the mix, which takes more courage than much of the competition has been able to muster.

These lyrics find kinship with the rhythm of the string play, and never is their poetic value centralized the chorus in this song exclusively. There’s nothing worse than a tonally efficient folk ballad that lacks rousing continuity from one verse to the next, but in “Make Your Move,” Rudolph isn’t isolating the love he’s making to the microphone in one spot over another. He’s got more than a singular passing thought he’s trying to put on the table in this track, and he’s using every word he sings to make clear just how profound a passion he has in this performance. I wish that could be said of every singer/songwriter release I review, but because it isn’t, this single is all the more a treasure.

Rudolph is a little reluctant to hit us with the hook in this song as hard as he potentially could have, but it’s a forgivable enough transgression that I can see why he took this route instead. Minimalism is having a major influence over the bulk of pop music emerging from the shadows of the American underground this July, and if he was trying to adhere to a common standard, he hits the nail on the head here. I’d still like to hear him get a little more aggressive in similar content he records in the future, as it would probably make even better use of his talents.

I don’t see any need to debate whether or not “Make Your Move” is a somewhat complicated pop single, but so is the player behind its very conception. Justin Rudolph doesn’t try to hide any of the quirks in his artistry here but instead makes them the focal point of his performance no matter what angle we’re appreciating it from. His eccentricities are more endearing than they are defiantly experimental, but for listeners like me — who are mostly interested in the melodic content of a folk song more than we are the zaniness of its construction — “Make Your Move” is a qualified hit.

Colin Jordan

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Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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Colin Jordan

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer

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