Heartbreaking Bravery

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Tag: Richard Spitzer

Richard Spitzer – Russia Collusion (Stream)

Editor’s Note: This post is one of several that were scheduled to go live several months ago but never went through. Rather than let these posts die an undignified death, they appear today in their original, unaltered forms. 

Richard Spitzer’s “Synthesizer” was an utterly winsome track that’s held serve as one of 2019’s finest bits of folk-leaning music. The songwriter’s returned with the blackly comic “Russia Collusion” that takes the comparisons Spitzer earned to worthy contemporary songwriters and delves further, reaching back to shared influences like Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, and anyone else who wasn’t afraid to add left-field comic surrealism to their satire.

At first, Spitzer plays it straight, ostensibly falling into the trap that turns so much protest music so unbearably kitschy so quickly. Trump gets name-checked, “Russia Collusion” is used as a constant hook, and the tone seems sincere. The charade wavers in the first verse as Spitzer contrasts the mundanity of everyday existence to the constant distraction offered by political commentary and today’s clusterfuck of a landscape. The second verse finds Spitzer getting a little more serious and the straight-man schtick gains a little bit of life, while a bouncy melody keeps things from falling into an undying trope.

…And then the side-splitting final verse hits. I fully lost it at the song’s final reveal, which features spoken-word declarations of “Racism!”, “Wealth Inequality”, and “poverty” to play against the repeated insistence of “Russia Collusion”, which all leads up to a final societal tragedy that had me in literal tears, which I will not spoil here. In all, Spitzer’s proving to be a singular talent whose arriving at a time when things this brash, thoughtful, and unexpectedly lovely are both necessary and deeply appreciated. Don’t miss out on this one and keep an eye on Spitzer, who’s now responsible for two of the year’s strongest and most unassuming folk-adjacent oddities.

Listen to “Russia Collusion” below and keep an eye on this site for further updates on Spitzer’s upcoming self-titled record, which is due out July 19.

 

Richard Spitzer – Synthesizer (Stream)

Once in a rare while, a singer-songwriter steps out of the boundaries of their main vehicle to take on an a more layered identity. Artists constantly branch out to explore other avenues of music, whether it’s a new band or simply a genre shift. Richard Spitzer’s name belongs on that list. Spitzer’s project Loveskills found the songwriter creating largely introspective electro-pop in the vein of acts like Hot Chip, only suffusing the project with a more club-leaning bent. Recently, Spitzer decided to temporarily put that project on hold to release music under his own name, announcing the change with the lovely “Synthesizer.”

In a little over 100 seconds, Spitzer proves to be a deft songwriting talent, crafting a warm, funny ode to the instrument that enlivened so much of his previous project. Acoustic guitar and vocal overlays comprise the entirety of “synthesizer” (not a synth in earshot) and Spitzer somehow manages to recall a swath of admirable lyricists in the song’s short runtime: Sufjan Stevens, Stuart Murdoch, Sean Bonnette, and Owen Ashworth among their ranks. Each of those artists have navigated similarly indie folk-friendly territory with sincerity, humor, and grace, which Spitzer matches here, creating an indelible impression. For as much as he clearly loves the instrument and its capacity to create enormous soundscapes, we should consider ourselves fortunate he’s taking some time away to create something that’s both refreshingly familiar and intriguingly new.

Listen to “Synthesizer” below and keep an eye on this site for further updates on Spitzer’s upcoming self-titled record, which is due out July 19.