Jacques Gaines releases Something Wrong with Me (Single)
“Something Wrong with Me” represents Jacques Gaines’ return to recording and writing albums Volume Won well. The single doesn’t overextend itself in any way and has a sure hand from the outset reflecting the confidence Gaines has in his talents for communicating with the audience. Volume Won is his first release in quite some time and those familiar with Gaines’ past work, particularly with Soul Attorneys, will note the exponential growth of his talents in his years away from making albums. He makes a concerted effort for the public’s attention with both a single release and corresponding music video, but even a single listen to this song will convince all but the deaf that Gaines is, first and foremost, writing and performing for himself and hoping we accompany him for the ride.
It’s a satisfying journey. Gaines has a vocal style that draws you into the song from the outset and a cool relaxed air that makes a sad lyric more palatable for listeners. The subject matter is adult and even a little thorny as it examines the tendency to take on or assign blame in the wake of a broken romantic relationship, but Gaines’ songwriting avoids the same boatload of clichés often pulling down similar efforts from lesser writers. Some venom emerges from the lyrics courtesy of guest vocalist David Lamb’s rap further on into the track, but even this is handled with strong writing and doesn’t take cheap shots.
The song’s steady musical pulse and tightly woven lines carry listeners along from the first. None of the instrumental players involved overstep and, instead, concentrate their focus on serving the song. They reinforce Gaines’ voice rather than vying with it. “Something Wrong with Me” has a modern sheen without ever seeming affected or overcooked – the clarity and high resolution polish defining the music and his voice alike help make this an entertaining listening experience.
His voice takes on a more emphatic edge at various points throughout the song, but the prevailing mood is weary heartache, a result of treading over the same ground again and again trying to assess responsibility. We’ve discussed this before in the review but it bears mentioning again in the context of the song’s arrangement as both of these elements play and feed off one another. The video underlines these qualities with its imagery and, like musicians supporting Gaines during this performance, there’s no attempt to overshadow the message and the vocal performance. “Something Wrong with Me” will be a welcome listen for fans of his previous band Soul Attorneys and, for newcomers, a first rate introduction to Gaines’ considerable gifts. He has a strong grip on mature songwriting strengths and never panders for listener’s attention.