Joel Leffler’s new EP Strip Me Bare is, in its entirety, an absolute joy. The breakout single from which has to be Auburn Hair. All of the crisp, cool sounds of an almost reggae inspired steel drum back-beat and the clean bright synths put the sun and wind in your hair as the lyrics take you back to that feeling of first love. When Leffler sings The Sun’s beatin’ down on the dash, I should tell you – I’ve fallen in love with the way you are – it’s with such genuine heart that you can feel yourself there in the car, riding into the sunset.
It’s a song written simply. The lyrics are catchy, easy to follow, and evoking. Auburn Hair is a song that would be indistinguishable from any song on this Summer’s Billboard top 100 – if it wasn’t so much better. An absolute pop masterpiece, Auburn Hair pulls from the success of every great summer song before it. The pop rhythm, the bright melody, the beauty of young love, the summer sun so perfectly captured, the romance of running away together – everything about this song makes it perfect.
Call it catching lighting in a bottle, but Leffler has managed to produce a single and, in fact, and entire EP of songs that sparkle with the crisp, clean beauty of a pop hit with absolutely none of the paint by numbers or tacky fillers and filters used by so many. Auburn Hair is such a genuine love letter to songs like Check yes Juliet and The Boys of Summer of yesteryear – without any of the melodramatic baggage. It’s a song about love – real, exciting love, in the here and now. Auburn Hair is a testament to the bright, the beautiful, and the ephemeral, and it’s the best song I’ve heard this year.