Review: "By My Side" - Kid Travis
Kid Travis’ latest single “By My Side” is such a faithful homage to soul classics that it could have come straight out of the 1960s. Both in terms of composition and subject matter, this song feels vintage, but with an infusion of modern energy. Travis’ vocal performance is so emotionally expressive it is almost crooning, but his impressive range and use of falsetto readily bucks that definition. “By My Side” is a portrait of desire, as Travis lays out his dreams of a perfect relationship. He acknowledges the grand gestures that we have all grown accustomed to seeing in the media: the large-scale declarations of love, kissing in the rain. What he seeks, however, are the behind-the-scenes nuances that make a relationship truly strong. Though the public gestures can serve as affirmations of love, they aren’t what true love is. What Travis ultimately wants is support, to find somebody willing to stay by him, help him grow, even if it’s short lived.
The laid back tempo and liberal use of seventh chords evokes Travis’ loving, his longing, without him needing to say a word. The instrumentation is sparing, using only drums, guitar, and bass. With such a small backing band, each instrument’s contributions are vital to the feel of the piece as a whole. Of course, Travis’ sultry tone is by far the heaviest contributor to the composition. His vocal control is impeccable, shining through in his ability to maintain his pitch while performing beautiful riffs and vocal runs and producing a haunting vibrato. Despite his mastery over his voice, Travis keeps these skills close to the chest throughout most of the song, instead using them to add emphasis to the chorus, which he belts in an airy-toned falsetto. Alongside carrying the melody, Travis’ background harmonies provide a rich texture to bolster the instrumentation. The song’s heavy use of background vocals provide a subtle nod to doo-wop, a direct ancestor of both r&b and soul, and a fitting genre for a song about love. The song ends in a manner that has become less and less standard in recent years: the fade out. By not overtly ending the song, the fade out allows for the main riff to carry us through the end, giving a sense of conclusion while continuing the momentum that has been built. This ending is yet another stylistic element giving it an old, yet rejuvenated air.
Kid Travis has been putting time and effort into his craft. His social media presence has blossomed in the past few years as his combination of original music and covers have garnered the attention of over 480,000 youtube subscribers. He’s shown an unbelievable dedication to using social media to grow his base, engaging frequently with fans via comment sections, twitter, or live streams. His willingness to listen to and communicate with his audiences, and not to mention his other-worldly vocal talent, has led to over 150 million Spotify streams, and has gotten Travis the respect and attention of some of the largest names in pop and r&b such as Dominic Fike, Post Malone, and Bryson Tiller. Travis’ growing discography and versatile sound make him someone to follow closely as his career unfolds.
Written By Liam Dun
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