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AV Super Sunshine continues to impress with “Candyland”

“Wait, is it morning?” asks AV Super Sunshine as he starts to croon in the rock mix of his new single “Candyland,” a smorgasbord of string colors flowing with a peaceful consistency in the background. He’s taking his time with the verses here, but there’s a sense of urgency in his delivery nevertheless. AV melds the simple with the stately in both this version of “Candyland” as well as the radio mix of the song, and no matter which one strikes you as being the more superior between the two of them, one thing is for certain – getting addicted to the melodies contained in this single is almost a given, even in the most cursory of examinations.

The bassline is far more prominent in the rock mix than it is in the radio version of “Candyland” (which is also known as “Candyland (Dance Party Mix)”), but it makes a significant impact in the shaping of both tracks just the same. I get the impression that AV was trying to give his vocal a little more of the spotlight in the radio mix than he was in the rock n’ roll cut of the song, but I would stop short of saying that it dominates the sonic landscape of either version; that job belongs to the harmonies that carry every verse through our speakers with ease.

There’s a ton of energy in “Candyland,” but personally I think that the rock mix better personifies AV Super Sunshine’s identity as a performer specifically as it relates to this most recent chapter of his career. The machismo that some of his peers might have included but ultimately left unmanaged in the grander scheme of things finds a dutiful purpose here. From the strut of the beat in the buildup to the chorus to the confident thrust of the guitars in the finish, nothing goes unutilized in the construction of the cornerstone hook we hear in both versions of the song.

Compositionally speaking, I think that this piece is probably one of the more complicated in AV Super Sunshine’s collection of indie anthems and club-ready beat ballads. Even though the rock mix was indeed designed to please red-blooded rock fans, I don’t think that it’s so engrained in genre worship that it would fail to get pop fans excited as well. It’s a difficult combination of listeners to satisfy at the same time, but for a guy like AV, pushing the artistic envelop as far towards the edge as possible without tumbling over comes with the territory.

AV Super Sunshine continues to impress myself and critics around the world with this latest evocative emission, and though he’s given up some really moving content prior to now, this is actually my favorite song of his to see widespread release since the title track of Baby Goodbye (a record which, if you aren’t already familiar with its tracklist, belongs on any credible critics’ list of mid-2010s indie classics). A musician with as versatile a skillset as his is never stops improving upon a tried and true model, and longtime fans will be especially intrigued by how far he’s come in the beast of a two-part single that is “Candyland.”

John McCall

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