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  • Giavanna Gradaille

Review: "punchline" - Alexa Valentino

In the digital age, ridicule is unfortunately a common occurrence on social networks. When so much of our lives revolve around having something of a social media presence, it’s almost guaranteed that someone is patiently waiting for us to make a blunder or two to exploit for a few laughs. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t be able to laugh at ourselves - however, l do think hiding behind a screen has allowed some of us to take a joke too far. But there’s no jokes to be made about Alexa Valentino’s “punchline”. Instead of letting ridicule get the best of her, she’s developed thick skin and a quick wit; only delivering knockout blows to those attempting to bring her down through aspersions and disparagement.

In the violin-laden tactile takedown that is “punchline”, Valentino empowers listeners who have found themselves to be the butt of the joke at one time or another. The single opens with determinant violin stings and layered synths featuring finger snaps that immediately draw attention. The opening verse makes it clear that Valentino has dealt with this “a hundred times” over – the belittlement game has no real effect on them now. It’s difficult to diminish someone’s sense of self-worth when the attacks are being made on old “battle wounds”; it’s similar to throwing a right hook when the recipient of this hook has a reputation for blocking them with their left forearm. These wounds are more than just for show or manipulation, they showcase our artist’s resilience in the face of derogation. As the song’s swelling pre-chorus ends, listeners are thrusted into a profound chorus that sends chills throughout their body. With every emphasis Valentino makes here, they’re forever changing and reversing the game attackers play – now subsequently making attackers the punchline for even thinking their pathetic attempts at bringing her down would work. The confidence built in the chorus radiates throughout the rest of the song. Valentino even remarks in the second verse that “there’s got to be [a] much better use of your time”. A devastating blow to anyone that’s made it their life’s mission to invest time in ridiculing others when they could be investing that time in themselves – figuring out why they feel so insecure to do something like this to begin with.

Quadruple threat, Alexa Valentino, just seems to keep on pumping out success after success. Big congratulations are in order for the artist and their co-writer, Dave Quirk, for winning the 2022 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the pop division and for overall “Song of the Year”! Their winning song, “Dear Love”, is a soft pop ballad centered on the desire for a second-chance romance. “Dear Love” is the final song on Valentino’s recent 13-track album, the meaning of forever. Also featured on the vulnerable confidential-confessional styled album are “punchline”, and “borderline” which was previously covered on the blog. For fans residing in Long Island, NY (and surrounding areas) there’s an opportunity to see Valentino perform live at the Northport Art in the Park this Sunday, August 13th. Tickets are not needed since it’s a free event open to the public. And as always, if you’ve enjoyed Valentino’s resilient front as much as I have, show her some virtual love in the form of streams, likes, and follows.

Written by Giavanna Gradaille



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