"the world needs more crazy cats like this dude." -Sleeping Bag Studios
"There’s almost always some kind of anti-establishment message at the heart of everything he does… and he’s unafraid to be the kind of disruptor that is really needed to shake things up & wake up the people out there listening." -Sleeping Bag Studios
Blind Uncle Harry is more about blurring all the lines and blazing up his own damn trail.
Aug 20, 2022 Blind Uncle Harry – “Burn Down The High School” – Single Review
Part of me seriously wonders if I’m ever really going to ‘get’ Blind Uncle Harry or what he’s all about. For a moment there…back when I reviewed his single “Song For Kori” last year, I thought I had a real bead on this guy as an artist…but I’ll fully admit, the last track I took on called “I Just Want You To Know” and this one called “Burn Down The High School” seem to be further removed from what I was thinking. There are many things that are certainly enjoyable about the music he’s making…but it’s so much harder to pin down whether or not anyone could consider these tracks to be fully complete in that regard. We get pieces of things we like…flashes of brilliance…inherently strange vibes…and music that’s really always much more about the message being communicated than perhaps about what the song might need overall for the people out there to return to it or consider it as accessible as our good Uncle would potentially want it to be. “Burn Down The High School” has components that could be considered enticing in an Alt-Folk type of way…certainly stands a chance to make an impression for the shock value of what it’s about…has the benefit of a stellar animated video supporting it as well…like I said – there ARE things about what Blind Uncle Harry is doing that are really clever. Is it really just me though? I feel like this guy is rushing himself when taking just a bit more time to smooth things out would pay off that much more in the finished product. There are pieces that always work, yet something always amiss too.
Fundamentally, I dig the songwriting…that’s been pretty consistent across the board in the songs I’ve heard from Blind Uncle Harry to-date – he’s got a rebellious spirit, and I dig that about the guy. There’s almost always some kind of anti-establishment message at the heart of everything he does whether in audible form, or in his videos like you’ll see in “Burn Down The High School” – and he’s unafraid to be the kind of disruptor that is really needed to shake things up & wake up the people out there listening. All that kind of stuff checks out to me…it’s highly authentic, and remains the main part about what keeps me coming back to listen to what he’s up to next. Musicianship can also be a key factor – like, I freakin’ LOVE the guitar he’s put into “Burn Down The High School,” to the point where, I absolutely wish it played more of a significant starring role than it does. Right now, a lot of the most kickass chops he puts on display are nestled way into the background, when this stellar aspect of Blind Uncle Harry’s music clearly deserves to be right in the spotlight. So that’s a weird choice…but hey, the man himself is proudly bizarre too…so it’s not like we can really expect everything to line up in a linear point-A to point-B type fashion – Blind Uncle Harry is more about blurring all the lines and blazing up his own damn trail.
Some of that’ll work of course…not just for me and you, but for himself too as an artist. I feel like there are spots where he could easily challenge himself to raise the stakes and give things a bit more effort than he’s choosing to – but he might likely totally disagree with me on that, and obviously that’s alright. Like…I’ve never been a fan of “doo wops” in a song, or “ooh la las” either for that matter – and the entire hooks of the chorus in “Burn Down The High School” is built on their foundation. A part that I’m not personally a fan of is one thing…that’s just my personal attitude towards that kind of stuff and who cares about that…but if you’re gonna have those parts in a song, it’s pretty crucial to get’em sounding on-point in my opinion…and the harmonies/backup vocals on this cut felt like they shot more than a bit wide of the mark. Obviously, like in any song with a hook built into it, that’s the most repetitive part we’re going to hear…so to have that tone come out as accessible as possible ain’t just advised…it’s downright crucial to a song’s success…and in this particular instance, I felt like those main hooks became a main hindrance. Like I said…maybe it’s just me, but it feels like Blind Uncle Harry & his cohorts are rushing things a bit where they don’t need to be, or perhaps simply not being as objective, open, and honest about the results as they potentially should be. Things are alright…but I have no doubt they could be better than they are – and ultimately, you have to wonder why that would be the case when full control is in his hands. Of course, we can look at the numbers and the comments on YouTube alone, and see that I’m apparently the anomaly…people aren’t giving Blind Uncle Harry the opinion I’m giving…so maybe it’s my ears that are broken, not his. He’s got his style of sound, and sure, I can get that it’s going to have an appeal of its own to many folks out there…ultimately, only he knows whether or not he could potentially be bringing more to his music and art than I suspect that he currently is. In my opinion, he’s got major strengths in the music, great ideas for the videos he puts out, cleverness that works great in his writing, and vocals that require an upgrade from the lead to the background…so really, he ain’t all that far off.
We all get the singing voices we come in with…but there are things we can do to refine them to be even better than they started out…and I’d be willing to wager that putting in more effort in that department for Blind Uncle Harry could ultimately go a very long way in making his songs more accessible overall. Time will tell if it’s the hundreds of thousands of folks tuning into his music that are giving him the straight truth, or if it’s me by my lonesome…either way, keep on keepin’ on my man…I might not like or love every single thing I’m ever gonna hear, but I know the world needs more crazy cats like this dude.