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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "C'est La Vie" - Banners

Maybe it's strange to point this out, but there is no cynical twist to the gentle optimist of Banners' latest single. "C'est La Vie" is a charming dose of jaunty pop as unburdened as the titular expression. Where it seems extremely on-trend as of late to bend saccharine phrasing into something jaded and sour, Michael Nelson (the driving force behind Banners) refreshingly delivers warmth and levity without irony or punchline. In some ways that makes it feel as though the music was excavated from a time capsule; the sweet acoustic strumming and tape-saturated piano keys are timeless foundations in singer/songwriter music. The directness of Nelson's vocal performance, especially as he croons "I've go you," holding onto the last vowel sound, lends it the feeling of campfire tunes. Melodically, "C'est La Vie" has the stickiness to bring a crowd of voices together to sing along. Cute, off-kilter production choices give the song a unique flavor, like a charmingly crooked-toothed smile.

Nelson's best lyrics deliver simple expressions of love, unmediated by self-conscious qualification. "All I gotta hear at night, is you love me." Lesser artists might feel the need to adorn these devotions with superfluous layers of anguish. But even as Nelson writes on negativity ("When I talk to strangers it's in a language that nobody speaks,") his intentions remain clear and unmoored. Life is unequivocally better with you in it. Stuck in the back of a long line, he finds a silver lining: "It's alright 'cos I'm standing here just thinking of you." Even if it takes forever, he shrugs it off. "Well that's just life." That is life—a long queue, an empty bank account, a painful shyness—but if you keep your eye on the ball, Banners suggests, the background fades away.

Music has been apart of Banners aka Michael Nelson's life from an early age. Performing in Liverpool Cathedral's choir since the age of seven, Nelson grew into singing with professional control and passion. Eventually working as an assistant at the well-renowned Parr Street Studios. After a trip to Canada with his father, infamous record producer Ken Nelson, Banners' demos came into the hands of Stephen Kozmeniuk. The two forged a partnership, leading to Nelson's debut under the Banners moniker. Most well-known for the viral "Someone To You," Banners has racked up over a billion streams, played on Jimmy Kimmel, and launched a new chapter with Nettwerk.

Written By Andy Mockbee

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