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Sandi Thom – Earthquake

I don’t know if you’ve heard about Sandi Thom uploading a video of her pouring her eyes out to the world about how her song Earthquake didn’t end up being on the playlist for BBC Radio 2.

Clearly if someone feels this strongly about their song not ending up on the radio it must be extremely good right? We’ll see.

She says she wrote a song that fits their format and that she is “f****** sick of the industry and it’s all utter bull****”. To be honest it’s a very unprofessional reaction, as a musician she should understand better how the industry works which maybe she does and the video was made to go viral consequently getting attention from everyone and leading to purchases and pre-orders of her new album.

At this point, I thought to myself that I remember her name from somewhere. She sang ‘I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker’ which is a great song! Earthquake is a very different song.

She’s not wrong when she says it’s catchy, after listening to it once I can still remember the chorus almost word for word. It actually feels very familiar, this could be because it has the same chord progression as about a thousand other songs. This isn’t a bad thing, I have written a few songs, one of which has the exact chord progression as I’m Yours by Jason Mraz but the two sound nothing alike.

I listened to the song on her YouTube channel. The lyric video for the song kind of looks like it was made in the 80’s partially due to the maximum resolution of the video being 480p and the ball of spinning words in the centre of the screen.

The first few lines of this song remind me a bit of the type of songs I wrote when I was 13. One YouTube commenter suggests that this song could do well in the end credits of a “poorly performing kids movie”. You can’t deny it has that feel to it.

There are a few cringe  moments in the song, one of them being “ ooooh, ain’t that the truth”, it sounds like she would never say those words to anyone ever and hence can’t pull off saying it.

I’m listening to it on my laptop speakers at this point and the song doesn’t sound well produced so I plug my headphones in to make sure it’s not just me. Sadly this only emphasises the flaws in the song. One of the things that annoy me is that there is just far too much reverb on that drum that underlines the chorus, it sounds just wet, I guess. You can hardly hear the harmonies that accompany the main melody. The whole song sounds rushed and incomplete, closer to a demo rather than a single from her 6th studio album.

Sandi Thom is by no means a bad singer, but it does feel like she’s straining, this song really doesn’t suit her voice even she has sung similar songs.

It does seem a little like she is stuck in 2004. The piano/guitar combo with a kind of gospel feel to it was very popular, but it hasn’t been for such a long time and this is why it probably didn’t make it on the radio. It seems to me like she hasn’t changed her songwriting style since she started in 2004. If you look at someone like JoJo who did ‘Leave (Get out)’ which was in the charts along with I Wish I was a Punk Rocker in 2004, has recently come out with some great new songs that actually sound like they were made in 2015 with great production and I have no doubt that JoJo will be in the charts again soon.

Sadly for Sandi Thom, unless she gets some better management and direction from someone good we won’t know her name in the next few years. She needs to be able to play music for the love of it and not design a song specifically for the radio. I’m not a professional myself, but she could learn a great deal from other YouTubers, independent musicians and even the pros. As for Earthquake, it might get a little popular because of the video of her crying about it but once people hear it, I don’t think it will be a must have for your playlists.

2 out of 5.

Nancy Cariah

Head of Music


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