Indie sensations often use their slow, acoustic jams to impress upon an audience their idea of a story time, using their lyrical protagonist for good not evil. However, songs like “Amanda’s Story” by up-and-coming solo musician, Justen Hamilton, have taken a more blatant approach, impressing a serious, center topic and its truths. Not only does Hamilton’s vocal range and rhythm form a perfect cohesive, but the song also packs a powerful kick.
Musically, the song has a country twang, combining a slow, acoustic drive, with some classic, southern chords. The introduction features this connection, setting up the song’s ambience. When the first verse blends in singing, “she said it wasn’t always so bad/there was some days we forget/passing time with the T.V./we pretend we were guests”, the melody slows into mostly simple chords, allowing the content to stand out from the background. But, as the lyrics gain momentum, the melody follows, catching up to the importance of the verses singing, “then everything would be the way we always dream” and “the heart wants most what it can’t defend”. Quickly, the lyrics cut, and again the sensational succession of two, varying musical styles are featured.
The structure of the song is appealing because the listener has time to appreciate what this particular lyrical protagonist is trying to say. The first set of verses have a mysterious undertone, but the lead-up I was shocked to hear was Hamilton’s line singing, “there was some days he was so bad/never giving us a rest”, which eventually leads into, ‘on those days it was so bad/we’d even dream of our death”.
Within that short statement, the entire message of the song becomes clear. The repetitive nature of the lyrics, especially with the declaration of the state of things, mimics the actions humans take to make themselves believe something, while the recollection of the past mimics how more often than not, humans cannot let go. The melody, which remains slow and steady, follows the tone of the content, giving a sad life to the situation. The music allows the song to be taken seriously and with a heavy heart, straining others to feel.
Collectively, “Amanda’s Song” has released its identity and embraced pain. Everything fits in a particular tone, but any moods can be grasped from this song. Justen Hamilton is a creative talent, and I can’t see what other experiences he’ll put into magical words.