I can definitely imagine relaxing on a beach with this song as the soundtrack. It doesn’t have the sunny buoyancy you might expect to hear from beachside tunes, but it has the cool collected emotion of a tropical sunset, confident without being assertive, at peace yet still brimming with life. It is the product of life’s experiences, to be sure, but it is also the result of time Black Pool, real name Max Lindberg, spent living in Central America pursuing his dreams at night in steamy bars and nightclubs throughout the immediate area. Though he is a young man, he has obviously opened himself up to what life has to offer outside the norm and I hear that in every second of his single “Be Yourself”.
I hear it in the near reggae style he applies to portions of his vocal. He spends most of his time during the verses stroking each word with gentleness, but there are understated flourishes where you can hear that influence. He presses on the words a little harder when the chorus arrives, but his approach doesn’t differ much. It is a small flaw, completely subjective, but the song might be just a little bit finer than it already is if he posed a sharper contrast between the verses and chorus. It doesn’t mar the listening experience however. He shows a clear commitment, however, to seizing the mood of the moment throughout the song and his delicate treatment never wavers.
It matches up with the song’s guitar playing. The clipped and melodic six string riffing has suggestive qualities; it seems to roll over you like waves lapping a beachhead and its reverb laced sound intensifies its impact on listeners in tasteful fashion. The reverb surrounding both the guitar and drums never interfere with the song overall but strengthen the mood instead. The drumming, however, does provide an important musical counterpoint to the guitar work – even though Black Pool wreathes it in echo, it has much more physicality than the guitar playing.
The lyrical content delivers age old truths to listeners in language all his own. There really is nothing new under the sun, but true creativity lies in being able to take what others have said before and restate it in a new and individual way for listeners. Black Pool accomplishes that. The theme of being true to yourself comes across in sparse yet pointed language that never beats listeners over the head but, instead, talks about the wisdom of being yourself in the context of his own personal experiences.
It’s a wonderful single and an excellent introduction to the soon to follow EP release. Black Pool has delivered a single brimming with quiet confidence and immense, yet low key, musicality. He never bites off more than he can chew with this performance and tailors it in such a way that you want to return to it over and over. That’s no small feat; many songs in popular music are disposable, most in fact, but “Be Yourself” proves to be an exception to the rule.