Comprised of a rollicking beat that brings to mind the jangle pop and heartland rock of the late 1990s, a slick hook, and vocals that are sourced from singer/songwriter influences at their most radio-friendly, Gene O.’s “You’re the One for Me” is a lot more than a modern rock anthem; it’s a tribute to an old school American pop-rock we haven’t heard in a long time.
There isn’t a thick bassline backing up the guitar parts in this song, nor is there a heavy filtration through which Gene’s vocal is repackaged and presented to the audience in a more tuneful and plasticized form. Rather than trying to dazzle us with a lot of synthetic intricacies that best belong on the sidelines as opposed to center stage in a track bearing his moniker, this is one singer/songwriter who isn’t about to waste our time with a lot of commerciality in his latest release. For Gene O. and almost every player with a passion for good melodies, contemporary content demands something a little stronger out of the underground market, and he’s out to satisfy the needs of his audience with some of his most direct and colorful handiwork so far.
Much as the lyric theme goes, there’s a feeling of dear yearning within everything in this song, starting with the vocals. There isn’t any reverb springing the words back into place as Gene utters them to us; actually, there isn’t any sort of ambient presence to his voice at all whatsoever.
It’s almost as if he’s talking to himself or exposing some sort of internal dialogue to the listeners, finding the right kind of melody to attach to the cadence of his speech as he goes. We get some incredibly distinct spacing for every instrument in the mix, with nothing sounding even the least bit cloudy as a larger-than-life harmony forms in the eye of the sonic storm. Gene’s vocal is always the biggest stunner here, leaving us with chills as often as it delivers provocative sentiments about where he’s at from the podium he stands on in these lyrics. His emotion is real, and were it not, we wouldn’t be hearing nearly as amazing a serenade in this piece.
If you’re a fan of moderate pop/rock, Gene O. is someone you can rely on for constantly leaving his audience impressed with whatever melodic wonderment he’s working with at the moment. He’s still working on his sophomore LP, but after spending some time listening to his steady growth as a player, I don’t know that he needs to wait to get back into the studio and hammer out a second collection of songs that speak to the soul of his creative style. There’s a lot of really intriguing content coming out of the woodwork in the American underground this year, and judging from the ambitiousness of this most recent project from Gene O., I think it would be safe to say he isn’t slowing his continuously evolving status in the scene for anything right now.