I could hardly resist a track called ‘Freeloaders’ – it is of course something I have been accused of being on more than one occasion, even if I would dispute it!
I also thought Simon Alexander had featured here at one time or another in the past, especially when I read that he has been primarily an acoustic folk artist (he bills himself as ‘Swedish singer/songwriter making sad folk songs’) but I’d got him mixed up with another Simon.
In any case he has moved on from that particular sound now to demonstrate his versatility by engaging in a rawer indie rock session on this song.
The song “delves into the fickle troubles of being young.” Well that’s something I remember but only vaguely now (ah, the joy of riding a horse drawn carriage with your belle and of receiving a Dear John message from her by pigeon rather than SMS) but I do agree with his assertion that it is a time that seems to fly by.
He looks back at adolescence from some distance and somehow tries to talk about it more openly.
And his youthful experiences played a part in him taking this new rock direction. It seems he felt ‘washed out’ after his last album and when he eventually set out to write again found himself drawn to what he grew up listening to in the 90s.
This new approach felt like an untouched playground to him.
The 90s was a strange decade for rock in my opinion, with cultured jangly ‘Brit Pop’ dominating the early part of it. Finding a sound from that era which matches Simon’s here was a harder task than I thought, and it isn’t grunge either.
He’s from the west coast of Sweden and judging from this song alone it could be the west coast of the US. If I were to relate this song to any other artist directly it would probably be Bruce Springsteen, who did at least pass through the 90s in his long career (and who is from the US east coast, I grant you that).
‘Freeloaders’ has something of the directness, dynamism and power of The Boss even though the melodies are quite different, from the opening hard struck chords to the final hard struck chords.
About two-thirds of the way through there’s one of the weirdest instrumental bridges you’ll hear, what sounds like the end days of prog rock, all 40 seconds of it, followed by a false ending which is prefaced by the lines, “When were we ever young?/Maybe we gave up when we tried to figure it out.”
That’s cute and they aren’t the only clever lines; the song opens with,
“I died, with nothing to care about/the world was about to end but somehow/I couldn’t cry in front of you.”
I guess that’s a reference to a break-up, possibly with the first love and the sense of how ‘macho’ must prevail in all circumstances. Yep, we’ve all been there.
‘Freeloaders’ is the first single from an EP, ‘Evermore’, due out in May.
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