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“Groove-A” by A-Lister

A-Lister isn’t interested in waiting to find out what you’re going to call his music – pop, rock, hip-hop, R&B or somewhere in between them all, he’s a melody-focused artist, and that’s never been quite as obvious as it is in his new single “Groove-A” and its simple video, both of which are out now everywhere quality indie music can be found. There’s not a lot of ego in his performance in “Groove-A,” nor do we have to deal with an inflated sense of self-righteousness with regards to the construction of the song’s hook. Pretentiousness has no home in this man’s discography, and that’s become quite clear in this first cut of 2020.

There’s a slightly processed feel to the lead vocal in this track, but I don’t think it’s an unintentional feature here at all. If it were, I’m not totally convinced it would have been stylized to balance out the meaty tonality of the instrumentation as brilliantly as it does. Contrast has been an important element in the first three singles this artist has released, and in this fourth official studio cut, I think it’s defining the narrative as much as any of the lyrics are.

“Groove-A” might be sporting the most evenly-mixed instrumentation I’ve had the pleasure of coming across in an eclectic pop track this season, with virtually none of its staple components bleeding into the lead vocal or overpowering another element of the song at all. Almost every singer and songwriter in A-Lister’s peer group seems obsessed with generating as big and bad a wallop from synthetic sources as they can when trying to record similarly experimental music, but for this player, he’s definitely mastered the arts of self-control and disciplined producing far sooner than many of his counterparts will. It’s impressive, and more importantly, it’s being channeled into great music.

The music video for “Groove-A” has an optimistic tone that is only suggested in the song by itself, and in comparison to some of the super-artsy content coming out of the woodwork that is the American underground in the year 2020, it’s a refreshingly cut and dry take on an otherwise lush pop melodicism. Truth be told, there are a lot of artists who could stand to learn something from the conservative attitude A-Lister’s got behind the board in this recording – if it’s another layer of his signature sound, it’s something I think he deserves universal praise for at the moment.

If this is just a glimpse into what the future is going to look and sound like for A-Lister, I would tell critics previously dismissive of his style to give it another chance this late summer season. “Groove-A” is some of his sleekest material so far, and so long as he’s able to develop its beat-happy presence along with some larger than life harmonies, there should be more than enough vitality to his next studio sessions to produce a proper full-length studio album for the world at last. He’s ready, and I won’t be the only critic to say so.

John McCall

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