To say that it isn’t easy to make a provocative pop song in 2023 just isn’t doing the job justice – in reality, it’s one of the hardest tasks that a modern musician can undertake, but this didn’t stop Ajay Mathur from putting his heart and soul into “Common Mistake” this month.
“Common Mistake” doesn’t take from other songs in the pop music lexicon and forge a familiar identity out of the applicable shards; it’s a bastion of originality, and more importantly, a show of strength on the part of one American underground singer/songwriter who hasn’t been getting enough credit for exceptionality lately. Ajay Mathur isn’t trying to change the model set forth by pop’s most inspired legends in this new single, but instead working with his own brand of groove-happy rhythm and rhyme that doesn’t ask anything of us in exchange for a wealth of melodic chills. Winter always comes with its unique soundtrack, and this year it should be known that Mathur and his latest studio release are an intricate part.
There’s a bit more contrast between the vocal and the drum parts in this track than I would deem necessary, but I think this was a deliberate effect created by producers during the mixing process. Everything here is tightly arranged together, and in creating just a little bit of discordance between the verse and the beat behind it, we’re able to hone in on just how powerful a voice Mathur has even amid an otherwise duress-filled situation. The atmospheric bend to the harmonies in this song is surprisingly strong, even though the grooves are as cut and dry as they can come in a pop composition.
The lyrics, though a little compact for the style of the instrumentation in the backdrop, are perhaps some of the most personal Ajay Mathur has recorded in his career, but they aren’t overly revealing of his deeper narrative here. Something in me says that “Common Mistake” isn’t as simple as we would believe it to be at first glance, and after repeat listening sessions, I’ve found it unveils a new layer with each spin it’s afforded.
Indie pop fans really can’t go wrong with Ajay Mathur’s work in “Common Mistake” this February, and if you’re feeling a little blue about whatever circumstances you’re experiencing in life right now, I would recommend it as the much-needed shot of catharsis you didn’t even know you were missing.
There’s still some room for Mathur to keep growing into the sound that he’s created for himself – and very much made his own over the past three years he’s been dominant in the underground circuit – but I wouldn’t tell him to make any drastic changes to the style of play he’s been utilizing in his most recent studio work. He’s onto something really special with “Common Mistake,” and if I were him, I would run with it as much as I could until widespread mainstream exposure no longer evaded my material or the artistry that was responsible for driving it.
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