Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Album Track Review: If You Like - Megan Schoenbohm

Megan Schoenbohm is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and teacher from California. She has released two albums to date, and her new album You Are Enough, is an absolute classic. Apart from having a compelling title, the album also features nine superb tracks, of which my particular favourite is the inspirational "If You Like".  The song is succinct, and seemingly sweet, but encompasses a potent message that resonates deeply.

The track begins with a percussive rhythm sequence interspersed by a glockenspiel, which provides an interesting counter melody to the lead vocal. The voice is clear and engaging, and the guitar playing is superbly played throughout. The musical arrangement is not over complex, enabling the melody to really cut through. There is expert musicianship performed throughout, with the bass exploring further melodic possibilities in the space remaining.

The lyrics unfold almost like a to-do list for children, encouraging personal choice regarding what to wear, play or sing. In this sense, the song promotes individual freedom of expression, as long as you do no harm to others. For example, during play, feel free to catch lizards, insects and frogs, but make sure to 'set them free with love'. Or if you decide to have a children's tea party 'make sure you save a cup for me'.  The lyrics culminate in the central idea that 'you can be anything you want' if you 'follow your heart', and whatever you decide on, you will always be loved.

In this complex and uncertain age, such a significant message really needs to be heard. Children should be free to experiment and make mistakes in a nonthreatening environment, and only then will they have the confidence to reach their full potential. How the artist manages to effortlessly explore such a controversial and emotive topic in under two minutes I really have no idea.

Megan Schoenbohm is a unique artist in that she appears delicate and yet robust. The music is gentle and endearing, but also deep and persuasive. Her lyrics explore the dichotomy between freedom and responsibility, where kindness and inclusion are balanced against free will and self expression.  In this song her lyrics are somewhat didactic; but executed with an approach that exudes both charm and flair. Perhaps most importantly, she has managed to explore a complex issue with delicacy and finesse, and given the right circumstances, has the potential to inspire a whole new generation.

Megan Schoenbohm - do anything you wanna do!

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