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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Temporary Dopamine" - Jesse Merineau

It's no secret that social media is addictive and often toxic to mental health. But the scene Jesse Merineau paints on his excellent, latest single, "Temporary Dopamine," is one of more pervasive conditions. Catchy melody and pristine production take the lead, storing the complexity behind the song's lyrics. "Temporary Dopamine" sounds paradoxically both sharp and smooth — barbed yet unhurried. The instrumentation is an indie-rock masterclass, never settling in one particular place. Merineau's vocals may be mistaken as syrupy: comfortable to slide from a husky whisper into a playful falsetto. Listen closer to the way he twists on words and phrases and you'll get the sense that he is slipping into your bloodstream. For a catchy indie-rock banger, Merineau finds a way to unsettle as much as he delights.

The addiction to screens, social media, and a culture of convenience all take a new shape in the lyricism of "Temporary Dopamine." Listening to his lyrics, I felt compelled by my own memory of a friend glued to their phone. "You're somewhere else, or so it seems," he sings, though not unsympathetic. Of course, that's what social media is designed to do to our brain chemistry. "It's not your fault, it's by design." It's these startling moments of clarity when we realize how technology has shaped our habits and behaviors. There's the wasted time and opportunity that many can relate to, with social media being such an accessible form of "entertainment." Merineau additionally remarks on the tendency to take in very little information about a whole lot ("Too busy reading just the headlines, / as the truth flies by you"). Ultimately, there's a lack of presence that comes with this vice. It's dangerous to have everything and everyone at your fingertips.

Canadian singer/songwriter Jesse Merineau is an ever-evolving force of indie pop-rock talent in the Toronto scene. Working full time as a bartender, Merineau brings a relatable experience and contagious drive for music. "Temporary Dopamine" shortly follows a March release of his first song since the pandemic hit, "This Spark." His recent collaborations with award-winning songwriters and indie label singing have bolstered Merineau's efforts to express his artistic vision. Marrying catchy, pop melody with contemporary indie-rock, Merineau's music stands in affinity with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and Young the Giant.

Written By Andy Mockbee

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