Of all the creative outbursts that have emerged as a result of Trump’s presidency, this EP from artist and songwriter Vegas Man is one of the most directly and explicitly influenced by the POTUS himself. Beginning with the raw-folk and yodel-brushed The DT Blues, these songs offer a delightfully joyful approach to expressing disdain. Vegas Man plays acoustically and sings with a seemingly carefree level of optimism, his lyrics though – these offer the heavy contrast of actual factual elements that really lay bare the key sentiments of the project.
Despite the somewhat satirical flow and list-led nature of the opener, (In) Over His Head is a notably more melancholy and heartfelt song – though not without a slight and relevant touch of humour. The reality of the presidency is, for many, far from a laughing matter, and Vegas Man seeks to address this in a more thoughtful and quite calming manner here. The melody works really well and makes certain that hook stays with you.
Fixin’ To Die Blow ‘Em Up Rag flies the satire flag high again. Vegas Man’s vocal delivery and the rhythm of the song reflect this mood shift, and his lyrics here are some of the best yet. The fast pace means a lot pours through in a short space of time, a second and third listen do well to help it all sink in. The sound is light hearted and fun, but again, the issues underneath are a tad heavier than implied. I think this sort of approach works well in a sense, there’s very little the average civilian can do about a lot of this, but addressing it and not being held down by disdain is a pretty good start.
Mr President takes on an acoustic ballad ambiance, changing the mood again – the leading vocal feels a little more distant here, almost as if the singer is giving a speech, addressing a nation (a clever touch, whether intentional or not). The melody and certain lyric-less moments give this song a lot of character. It’s a great song, it somehow feels familiar and new at the very same time, and the movement within has a comforting energy about it. By this point it’s clear that a live acoustic show from Vegas Man would be something worth witnessing.
Keep On the Sunnyside is a song that marks the perfect end to this project. The hopefulness, the lack of factual details, the simple optimism expressed in both the lyrics and the leading artist’s vocal performance. There’s a gentle level of poetry here that inspires hope in unison with the chord progression and the melody. It’s a minimalist song, as are all of these -musically speaking – but it’s easy set-up lays bare the strength of the central sentiment, and that’s more than enough to give it impact.
There’s a lot of a difficulty touched upon throughout the EP leading up towards this point – to leave you pondering all of that isn’t always the strongest start to any day, even though it’s important to stay aware. Finishing with this song leaves you with a touch of light about your world, as opposed to the darker opposite vibes of helplessness. Vegas Man does well to point out the truth of the world, of current affairs, in a way that doesn’t rob you of your will to live. Far from that, in fact, these songs have a lightly uplifting aura that does, all in all, fill you with a strange sense of joy.
Clouds and storms will in time pass away…