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Review: Christian James "I'm OK"

Christian James is an indie pop recording artist hailing from North Carolina. His work has gone largely underrated, with impressive composition, instrumental, and lyrical ability that deserves more recognition. His work was brought to my attention with his most popular song, "Same Old Dance", featuring LAiTH, which marveled me and quickly became one of my most listened to songs of the past year. While he has yet to release a full studio album, he has released several singles and an EP since his streaming service debut in 2019, all of which display his fantastic musical ability.

Album art for Christian James' "I'm OK"

James' first release of 2024 is an upbeat indie pop track titled "I'm OK". Featuring vocals from Grace Lucia, this tune is the perfect poppy pick-me-up to get you through the cold winter months. Filtered chords introduce the track. Tension quickly builds into a blooming chorus with notable drums and a boisterous vibe. This instrumental heavily relies on versatility of the guitar, with aspects of warped finger picking and chord-style playing. This variety within a singular instrument allows the song to feel multifaceted while still blending seamlessly. Additionally, the inclusion of faint harmonies and female vocal riffs takes this arrangement to the next level.

Lyrically, the song tells the relatable anecdote of acting like you're okay while feeling confused in a tumultuous romantic situation. James laments falling for his love interest in the lyrics: "I was fine on my own," and, "tell me why the hell'd you lead me on?", setting the scene of a potentially toxic relationship. The unfortunate but relatable sentiment of "baby i'm not enough, I feel it when i'm with you," is repeated throughout the chorus of the song. The concept of putting up a facade is mirrored through melancholy lyrics accompanied by an upbeat instrumental–a small detail but one that is very much noticed and appreciated.

"Tell me why the hell'd you lead me on?"

The wildly talented PC Murahari, also known as Pranav Chintalapudi, produced, mixed, and mastered this track, and his ability to mix the song to perfection is admirable. One of James' strongest suits in all of his music is his nearly flawless composition, and "I'm OK" is no exception. His vocal line stays beautifully clear and sharp without being overbearing, and each instrument blends into one another effortlessly while still being differentiable. This song is a great, relatable tune that is incredibly fun to listen to overall. James has quickly become one of my more listened to artists and I eagerly await his projects to come in the new year.

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