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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Keep Up" - Paul Vinson

Each instrument on Paul Vinson's latest single, "Keep Up," is sharp and impactful—like the blackest of inks contrasting starkly against a white canvas. That the Nashville-based artist's voice can hold the song's greatest power is a testament to his talent. Remarkably intricate and impeccably executed, the production to this ballad emboldens the grief and sorrow at its core. At each turn, something new takes center stage: twangy acoustic guitar, sparkling piano melody, delayed and distortion-heavy bass, and whistling synths. The complexity provides Vinson's melancholy lyrics with an assurance—acceptance in light of heartache. Stand firmly in your feelings, lest you become an enemy to your own sadness.

"I don't wanna keep up with you," is given the central weight of the song: halting instrumental and double-tracked vocals shining a spotlight on it. It stands as the present answer for the end of a past relationship. The song opens with the memory of this person festering in his mind. The details get intentionally warped as he mulls them over ("I know I wasn't crying / it was the sun in the mirror that hit my eyes just right / I'm fine.") The song really picks up steam, however, when he bears his pain in its rawest honesty. As the bridge builds these emotions to a cosmic scale ("slowly built intention to the beginning of space and time,") he finds a newfound solace in the titular mantra. There is no easy answer or resolution to heartbreak, but a little self-assurance removes the need for one.

Paul Vinson is a musician based in the Nashville, Indie-rock scene. In 2021, he released a four-track EP titled "Good God Get Me Out of Here." This year, he is set to release his debut, full-length album. "Keep Up" is the second single teasing towards the record. In May of this year he released the lead single, "Drama Queen." The sparkling roughness of its blown-out dramatics pairs nicely with the softer anguish within"Keep Up." Vinson's mastery over a diverse and complimentary palette of sounds is certain to make for a fantastic debut LP.

Written By Andy Mockbee

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