A thinking listener can’t argue much with the message and imagery in the words for “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned”. The new single from The Gary Douglas Band spares no punches revealing our society as an unforgiving, violent, and inhuman world where the best laid plans of the best among us are often subverted by selfishness, madness, and greed. It’s notable, however, that the song never succumbs to despair. The musical mood harbors a light downcast air, but the sonic spirit of the tune leans much more to the exhortative side of things, a quality especially underlined by the song’s chorus. Full on backing voices answer the lead vocals during the chorus and Douglas caps things off with his most passionate moments at its conclusion. Rarely are any songs as put together as “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned”, everything slides into place, every idea and motif pays off for the listener.
Few elements in the song succeed as well as the vocals. Douglas may not have a bevy of releases to his credit, but he takes on this song like a canny veteran of both the studio and stage and applies both the right amount of force and personality to bring this song to life. The thoughtful consideration of his phrasing helps accentuate the quality of Douglas’ lyrics and mitigates some of the darkness in its imagery. The tone of the backing vocals has a much different feel than we hear from Douglas and the stark contrast between those sounds adds a lot to “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned”. The vocal melody matches up nicely with the arrangement without ever imitating it and it’s another important contrast making “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” work so well.
The song musically hinges on the acoustic guitar and percussion. The acoustic guitar maintains a fairly consistent tone throughout the song, but the drumming brings an evolving character to the performance that gives it genuine flair. Listening to how the drums are recorded provides a microcosm for how the production enhances “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” and the artful way the mix frames the song is a big part of its success. Most of the song has a warm crack in its snare drum sound that gives the single an emphatic and unwavering pulse.
“Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” is a magical second single from The Gary Douglas Band’s second album. The pending sophomore release Deep in the Water thus far shows a songwriting who has refined and developed on the talents we heard with the band’s debut Keepin’ Faith. It’s music and songwriting that stands behind its passion, never backs off, and unflinchingly gives the listener its take on the world with an ear always turned towards entertaining its audience as well. It’s uniformly successful. The Gary Douglas Band illustrates how passion survives no matter what paths we pursue in life and our deepest personal happiness comes when we obey our inner voice. “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” is full of soul, artfulness, and a deadeye aim on its message.