Call me crazy, but over the years, I’ve never expected to find anything mildly interesting to come out of Alternative Press magazine, nor from their ever extensive website. Now, before you throw the rotten vegetables, let me back up that statement. Not too long ago, I used to work for “Hot Topic” and for years the only bystander ever to even pick up a copy of the magazine were those who either, a.) claimed they saw Nirvana the previous night (what?) or b.) wanted to impress one of the employees working with their “great taste in the music scene.” Sometimes a few of them wanted to just impress their first date (we had a lot of pre-teens who came in).
Nonetheless, the other night, while wandering the infinite wastelands of YouTube (well, let’s be honest here, I was mostly just typing in random phrases/bands into their search engine), I came across a very special video of one of my newest obsessions, Portugal. The Man. The video is a live recording of one of the most beautiful songs within the band’s third effort, Censored Colors. It’s called “Created”. So, where does Alternative Press fit into all this? They sponsored the damn thing.
What’s so great about the video is that it hits home right away, thanks to the song’s harmonies, melodies, and vibrato that, while you can hear on the album, is more meaningful on video. It’s all about location here. By simply placing front man John Baldwin Gourley in a subway corridor, the song sparks new life. The dirty, scum filled hallways create this rare echo to his voice, which almost work as back up harmonies — it’s sincerely beautiful.
However, I do miss the beautiful stringed instruments, something you can only find within the album. But hey, you win some and you lose some. That aforementioned subway atmosphere adds quite a distinctive feature and makes the already appealing song even more dynamic and of course, another d-word, dramatic. What stunned me the most about this video was Baldwin’s voice; here is man who’s playing one hell of a tune and he sings it almost better than Freddie Mercury. It stops me in my tracks to say the least. Ack, see my obsession?
Speaking of which, if I saw John Baldwin Gourley in the subways of Chicago any time soon, I’d throw him a couple of bucks to play on, maybe even a hug.