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“Halfway” from Alex Woodard

Rhythm doesn’t always become the defining point in a quality rock song, but when it does, it’s often due to the thunderous presence it possesses in a master mix. This is somewhat true of the beats we find in the new single and music video “Halfway” from Alex Woodard, but not entirely so; in all actuality, while the grooves are quite sizeable in this piece, they don’t define the song strictly through their size. In creating a charismatic stutter between lyrics and percussion, this understatedly complex tempo presses “Halfway” through the speakers and into our hearts seamlessly and without resistance from anyone in the audience.

Official Website: https://alexwoodard.com/

“See here’s your ocean / Here’s your wave / Here’s your island / Here’s the way” Woodard tells us on the backside of the track, channeling much of the introspective tone from the harmony into his words without ever skipping a beat with the mic duties. As much as I’ve found myself attracted to repeat listening sessions spent with this single on the strength of the lyricism alone, there’s just too much context created in the instrumentation for me to deem this a poetry showcase. Multifaceted songwriting is Woodard’s forte, and that’s more than obvious when listening to a piece like this one.

There’s definitely a homespun, almost bucolic feel to the bones of “Halfway” that leaves me thinking of old school players like Tom Petty when taking a closer look at the chorus here, but I do believe it’s only present to make the narrative sound and translate as being more vulnerable than it needs to be. I get this vibe from Woodard in this single that screams ‘Hear me, understand me, don’t question me’ more than it does ‘Answer this for yourself,’ and to offer piercing admissions with his verses, I think this approach was entirely necessary (while totally contrasting with the postmodern trend in American pop/rock today).

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/alex-woodard/315369151?i=315369576&ign-gact=3&ls=1

The gallop in the string section here is really powerful even when listening to the track at a rather moderate volume, and it’s through the gust of energy the melodic parts afford this single that the percussion is able to spread out and make the mix feel fuller and more complete to the listener, whether hearing “Halfway” on regular speakers or headphones the same. Woodard is never using his backing band as a device to manage all of the heavy lifting in this release; he’s getting his hands plenty dirty on his own, and exemplifying what it really means to be blue-collar and solo.

Artfully-produced and brilliantly executed by a musician who undisputedly knows what he wants to make and who he wants to be in this business, “Halfway” has easily become one of my favorite new singles out of the underground beat this March, and it shouldn’t take you more than a cursory examination of the song to appreciate why. There isn’t a lot of rock music worth writing home about in any corner of the market nowadays, and so coming across something as honest and vibrant as this single/video combo is amounts to quite the treat for critics and fans alike.

John McCall

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