REVIEW: Pretty Awkward — “Bored” (Single)
There’s a faint elegance to the structure of the main melody in Pretty Awkward’s new single and music video “Bored” that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since listening to the track for the very first time just the other day. Rather than being built around the swing of its rhythm or even the rhyme of its poetry, “Bored” is a song that comes to us riddled with a swagger that does a lot of the communicating otherwise mundane pop lyrics would have been tasked with doing had another band been in charge of this release, and while it isn’t lacking in presence — even at limited volumes — this is a single that is shaped by its atmospheric harmonies far more than it is any sort of brute muscularity. In 2020, no matter what the genre in question is, there’s no debating whether or not you have to be an original act if you want to get the kind of attention it takes to be on a mainstream level of production, and for Pretty Awkward, they’re making all the right moves to earn some hard-fought credibility in tracks like this one and the last three they’ve released since debuting in 2019.
We aren’t faced with a lot of pressure on the backend of this track, but there’s still a lot of forcefulness to the weight of the percussion as it relates to where the bassline ends up fitting into the melody. The vocal is brittle but never broken by the instrumentation; they complement each other and create a bit of consistency amidst a churning rhythm built for something a little more forward in tone.
I can imagine that “Bored” could be even more compelling on stage than it is in this studio version, but I wouldn’t suggest the single is somehow missing some crucial ingredient that separates the average releases from the iconic in all of history. The reality is, with the kind of buzz Pretty Awkward are getting at the moment, they needed to come up with something strong to keep the hype up this fall, and they picked the right fusion number in “Bored” to do just that.
I had never heard of these guys before pulling up a chair and experiencing their music for the first time this year, but I think they need to make a point of getting back into the studio to break off a full-length album before 2020 is over. They’ve already got enough to cover one side of an LP, and although the competition is really intense — partly thanks to the isolation-induced times created by an ongoing pandemic of all things — theirs is a sort of sound that doesn’t feel completely derived from a trend within modern music as we’ve come to know it in the underground.
Pretty Awkward are a picture of discipline in this latest release, and if I have my way, we’re going to be hearing and seeing a lot more of this band soon.