I’m getting a fair few singles from singer-songwriters as of late. I’m not complaining, by any means; it just confuses me slightly that this particular sub-genre must be metaphorically similar to my local bus route, in that there’s not any for years and then a few come along simultaneously; hence my distrust of the South Yorkshire public transport system.
You may or may not have heard of George Taylor previously. For the uninitiated, I’m going to attempt a brief description: Based in the capital, where the public transport system is much more refined, this sans-facial-hair artist is creating a sympathetic notoriety for his steady stream of solid tunes. Instead, I’m going to attempt to garner a reputation for his collection of well-produced, original pieces of artwork for his singles. And yes, I still appreciate a lovely cover.
Released at the end of June, ‘Ophelia’- aside from displaying Taylor’s knowledge of classical literature – centres around a quite significant issue, which I imagine is easily overlooked due to the polished nature of the track. Make no mistake, you haven’t stumbled across the latest X-Factor-Christmas-Number-One, although I have no doubts that this track is much better constructed and much more meaningful than anything to come out of such typical efforts…
Upon multiple listens, the song’s surprisingly serious topic of mental health becomes much more apparent and is portrayed vividly through the shimmering, haunting tones of the track. With its context considered, the tune transforms from a pop-esque ballad into an emotional one. Even the opening line of “coloured sheets and padded walls” can become lost in the array of Taylor’s vocals and the simple, finger-picked acoustic guitar.
Subsequently, the mainstream appeal of the track must be forgiven: Even the other half expressed her fondness for the tune, simply for its enjoyable yet looming, almost foreboding atmosphere. When she got the gist of the often-mishandled subject matter, her appreciation for the track grew further. Without intending to utilise any negative connotations of the collection, this track could fit right into the Top-40, while simultaneously pleasing a variety of audiences.
Much like the rest of his expanding discography, ‘Ophelia’ is refined, easy to listen to, and establishes borders between clean-cut, emotional pop, and the weathered roots of alternative rock. While the song may have been inspired by personal matters, it will hopefully serve to leave an impact people’s perception of an issue which is often misappropriated in British music, whether it be at the hands of the local Northern indie scene, or the well-funded monoliths that rule pop.
While Taylor’s music isn’t exactly ‘Northern’, regardless of how you interpret the North/South divide, I feel like we can happily include it here. And while such tracks aren’t normally my cup of tea, (admittedly, I’m very specific about my tea), I can at the very least express my appreciation for what Taylor was trying to, and has achieved here.
With the likes of Zane Lowe premiering his tunes, Taylor is guaranteed to become a head-turner in the near-future. Check out his website, his Facebook, his Twitter, his Instagram, and finally, his SoundCloud. Keep an eye out for upcoming dates on his social media.