Jerad Finck

JeradFinck

I never expected to hear the word “flamethrower” in a pop song. Usually, the pop genre’s terminology consists of phrases such as “baby” or “sorry.” However, it’s hard to see the usual with a man like Jerad Finck

Jerad was raised in Spokane, Wash., where he continues to live today, beginning his musical life with the trumpet. He played mainly jazz for years, but once he hit college, he switched to pop. Since 2011, he has been traveling the road to success after he wrote “Runaway,” a song that appeared on lists such as the Hot AC Indicator Chart (#25) and the Adult Contemporary Chart (#33). As he’s been touring with artists like Daughtry, Jerad has met and worked with a number of producers such as David Hodges, Andrew Williams, Steven Miller, and Nathan Meckel, who he has collaborated with writing tracks for his upcoming, full-length album. He also signed with Milk & Honey, a hybrid entertainment company that represents many strong artists, producers, and songwriters. Some of these people include David Hodges, who recently co-wrote a song called “The Girl You Think I am” with Carrie Underwood, and Sir Nolan, who wrote and produced several songs on Nick Jonas’s album, “Last Year Was Complicated.” He is quickly appearing everywhere, his songs featured in films and shows on HBO, Discovery, NBC, and more. He has also performed live on a number of morning shows, from channels such as ABC and Fox. Truly, these feats make me wonder why I’ve never heard of him before now. 

One thing I quickly noticed about Jerad is how much his songs stray from the normal pop topping the charts. As I said before, his writing is different, containing more imagery and variety than the likes of Justin Bieber and One Direction. They feel and sound poetic.  However, if I had to choose between “Never Say Never” and any of Jerad’s tracks, Jerad would easily be my pick. The stories Jerad writes are enchanting, grabbing your attention with ease, and he has a wide vocal range. In songs such as “Blood in the Water,” he offers listeners loud and catchy singing similar to tracks you would find on one of NSYNC’s albums, but in “Pieces of April,” his voice becomes rawer, exuding pure emotion with each word sung.

Every song is incredible to listen to, each for its own reasons.  It’s hard to pick favorites, even as I’m writing this review. Although, it is worth noting the growth Jerad displays with years past, especially following the hit, “Runaway.”

This first track of the EP opens with guitar strums reminiscent of country, but it quickly evolves into anthemic pop rock. The medley of guitar, drums, and vocals creates such an uplifting blend, encouraging you to sing along immediately. The lyrics are intriguing—this feeling most prominent in lines including “my walls are caving into the empty sound of a lost feeling.” It depicts a story about a man who lives in an unmoving world. He’s having a hard time finding reasons to keep moving, as he watches others move through this bleak existence. He doesn’t want to continue living this way, but he refuses to run away, even in this world. I’m sure others might interpret this song differently, but I find a message of hope. It’s telling me that even if my life isn’t going the way I want it to, I can’t give up on it. We only get one life, so we have to enjoy every moment of it, no matter where we go. Regardless of what Jerad’s intentions were with this song, it’s clear he’s talented and he could only get better from here.

What is truly interesting is how this first song compares to one of his latest, “Criminal.” As far as similarities go, both delve into the narrator’s life, the struggles he goes through. However, while “Runaway” appears personal, “Criminal” tells of a lost love. It’s a slower, much darker track, showing the narrator after a bad breakup, trying to figure out just how it happened. He depicts himself as both a victim and an investigator, singing “I keep chasing down all of these clues/Keep picking up more proof/Of the love you stole/Like a criminal.” The song has amazing vocals that are trembling with resentment, and the approach Jerad takes is ingenious. Sure, blaming your ex in a song is nothing new, but I have never heard a song where the narrator attempts to discover the reasons why the love between them occurred. He wonders if things would have turned out better had they stayed together, but he realizes she took any chance of reuniting away from him, possibly stealing his chances for future love as well.

One thing to note is the differences between “Criminal” and “Runaway” do not mean Jerad has become cynical. After all, one or two songs do not completely encompass an artist. In “Fireproof,” he sings about not letting the world’s pain stop him from making the most of his life. This is my personal favorite, mainly for all the lyrics referring to flames and heat. They’re more than cliché, but I can’t help but smile when he says, “I’m not afraid of your flamethrower/Because I’m fireproof.” This line makes this song so much better because it meshes the clichés with something unique—a flamethrower mentioned in a pop song. If that fact alone doesn’t make you want to listen to Jerad Finck, I might question your sanity.

Jerad has so many amazing songs for listeners to enjoy, and listening to them all has changed my mind about the pop genre. Sure, there will always be songs from the likes of Bieber I find uninspired, but everyone has their own tastes in music. I often look for songs with intelligent and poetic writing, but then again, I’m citing Jerad’s use of the word “flamethrower” as a reason people should check him out.

If I had to list the best thing about Jerad, it would be his musical evolution and variety. When you listen to his songs, from his early days to now, you find changes in his style, and none of his tracks are the same. As he has grown, he keeps his songs diverse in style and vocals—sometimes energetic and positive, others dark and revealing. This range is marvelous, and it’s why I will be keeping an eye out for his future releases.

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