I firmly believe one should never judge an artist by a single song alone. Many bands and artists are only remembered for one or two great songs, such as Scorpions’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane” or Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin.” Heck, there are even some well-known artists who are only remembered for mediocre tracks, like Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Despite how great or terrible a single is, it does not fully encompass said artist’s style. Even so, how do you judge a band that has only released two songs, with each played completely different? This paradox lies with LA-based band Silver Pup and their songs “Heartbreaker” and “Honey.”
The quartet is made up of lead singer Joe Taylor, guitarist Martin Vanz, bass player Xavier Valdez, and Austin Stidham on drums. Influenced by rock bands, Silver Pup also takes elements from other genres to enhance their music, creating an indie/alternative rock blend designed to, as the band notes on their official website, “melt your ears off.” The band’s journey began in late 2014 when Vanz and Stidham met at an audition. They both passed and soon began playing together until the band broke up, each member going their own way. Months later, they reunited and decided to form a new band. Eventually, they joined up with Valdez and Taylor towards the end of 2015, officially making Silver Pup whole.
Recently, Silver Pup released two singles, “Honey” and “Heartbreaker,” but as I said before, these two are almost completely different. For example, “Honey” is an upbeat love song where the narrator sings about a woman, saying, “You’re so sweet.” Because she’s sweet, he promises to be with her to the end and do anything for her, such as “lighting her cigarette.” Even while she’s asleep, he’s worried and doesn’t want to waste any of his time with her. Although, I found this track interesting, I was a bit disappointed when they didn’t make more comparisons between this woman and honey besides her demeanor. One idea I had was if this woman’s hair color was the same amber hue as honey. Personally, I believe more connections would enhance this song. Then again, when I first heard this song, I imagined the narrator dancing through a field of flowers, spinning around with a jar of honey in his hands.
As for “Heartbreaker,” it’s not quite as upbeat and positive, holding a darker tone to it. Throughout the song, the narrator calls a woman “heartbreaker.” He says that her very words, her lies, are like a drug, injected into his veins. They’re “a shot of poison that tastes bitter, but easy.” She puts him out of his mind, leaving him with a knife stabbed into his heart. He constantly asks her why she is stringing him along, although he is willing to do anything for her. When I first listened to this song, right after “Honey,” I was perplexed. How could we go from an upbeat, romantic track to this dark depiction of love turned obsession?
These songs are so different, but it was at that moment I began to think about their similarities. Both hold a steady beat of instrumentals, easy enough for anyone to follow. They would actually make great easy level songs on Guitar Hero or Rock Band. The vocals are great as well—Taylor’s words are enticing. He has this amazing ability to keep people listening, despite any change in sound or tone. Then, as for the biggest similarity, they are both love songs dealing with obsession. Even though the women are different, both men are clearly addicted. Their obsessions are unhealthy, but interesting to listen to and decipher.
Once again, you should never judge an artist by one song alone, and the same goes with two songs. Silver Pup has already gotten a great start with these two intriguing tracks, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last we see of them. Like any other musician, their style will develop with each song they released, becoming better as they go. Will they become obsessed with the theme of obsession? We can only wait and see.