Øyvind Weiseth – Hold On

Øyvind Weiseth

Many people say there is no more originality, especially in media. While I personally believe there are concepts we have yet to utilize, I will agree originality is hard to come by. Whenever I try to create new characters and storylines, they remind me of people and plots from my favorite shows, books, and movies. I work so hard to present the world with something new, but the idea of recycling old concepts, and doing them badly, gives me headaches. The same can be said for music. Newer artists are constantly compared to older works. There are so many classic songs people believe are the greatest of all time. How can any newbies hope to reach their level?

Mining for creativity is tough, but I wonder if using old ideas is such a bad thing. I still stipulate there is originality out there waiting to be discovered, though there were once times when songs we now consider classics had yet to be written. The themes of those classics worked out well, so the artists did something right. Could that right thing work again?

I kept this question in mind when I listened to “Hold On,” a new single by Øyvind Weiseth, a Norwegian singer, guitarist, and songwriter inspired by John Mayer and Bernhoft. He writes both English and Norwegian tracks, mainly in the Indie Pop genre, described on his website as “uplifting and anthemic pop.” In 2013, Weiseth moved from Norway to attend the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. He studied music there and formed a band with people of Norwegian and Japanese origins. His bandmates include backing vocalist Hege Nesset, guitarist Bendik Brevik, bassist Jon Olav Alstad, and drum player Gard Rognskog. Together, they have achieved success in Liverpool, as well as other places such as Norway. Their single “Eventyr” was even included on the playlists of Norwegian radio stations NRK P1 M&R and Radio Kristiansund.

When I listened to their single, “Hold On,” I felt a sense of déjà vu. “Hold On” depicts the theme of a man who messed up in a relationship. He admits he screwed up, regrets what he did, and doesn’t want his girlfriend to leave him. He pleads with her to reconsider and give him another chance, promising he’ll change his ways. I heard this theme in a number of break-up songs, including songs I’ve reviewed for Creative Control. The theme’s been used so often and I’ll admit “Hold On” isn’t the greatest one to use it. However, does this make it a bad song? Absolutely not.

Weiseth’s website describes “Hold On” as “infectious, guitar-driven Indie Pop showcasing Øyvind’s keen ear for melody and strong vocals,” a description which is surprisingly accurate. I wouldn’t have known he was Norwegian from the song alone. His English is immaculate, in both lyrics and vocals, and he reminds me of pop singers you might find in the U.S. His harmonies with Nesset are beautiful and the two work well together, though I would love to see Nesset in a more prominent singing role. The instrumentals were compelling as well. Every guitar strum and drum beat was synchronized, making me want to sing along. As well, while the narrator doesn’t necessarily sound desperate to get his lover back throughout the entire song, he sounds sincere and his desperation appears when he sings, “God, don’t say we’re through.” We never find out what the narrator did wrong, but this well-placed, emotional tug works to the band’s advantage. Placing myself in the girl’s shoes, it felt like I could trust him to change his ways and everything would work out.

Weiseth’s song isn’t the most original, but I feel like we’re not meant to judge it by theme alone. When you listen to two songs singing about the same thing, you need to compare other attributes such as instrumentals and vocals. The band does a great job with this and they show us this theme works with audiences. We’ve all dealt with this situation before and can relate to it, so as long as we empathize with the theme, it will continue to inspire future songwriters. Being original is awesome, but if your ideas match those of other works, you must give your all, showing what separates your song from the rest. Weiseth does this with harmonized vocals and rhythmic melodies, definitely making “Hold On” worth listening to.

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