A lackluster debut yearning for authenticity
In a lone bedroom in Leipzig, Germany, Joel Randles—better known as Good Posture—recorded and produced his new debut EP, Changin’. This four-track EP is Randles’ most ambitious release so far and attempts to capture the essence of bedroom pop throughout its short runtime. While Changin’ shines in its cohesiveness and occasional pockets of interest, it lacks the focused direction and authenticity needed to give the listener a fully realized view of who this emerging artist really is. Throughout, moments feel predictable and contrived for the genre, which inadvertently masks Randles artistic voice.
The opening track, “Last Time,” introduces the sonic space in which Changin’ resides. An array of flourishing, shimmering synth lines contrasts Randles distorted, layered vocals. The bland melody of the verses is quickly overshadowed by the high-energy chorus built on a strong hook. Additionally, the pre-chorus toward the end of the track makes for one of the most compelling moments of the entire EP. In it, most of the thickly stacked instrumentation drops out, leaving behind a heavily filtered vocal line atop a thinly orchestrated, rhythmically sparse accompaniment. This combination of elements mimics the sound of an old radio with a muted treble and bass. Eventually, the soundscape reverts to its initial form following this pre-chorus and fades to the end of the track.
The title track follows many of the same conventions of the previous song. Not much of note goes on, and many elements are repeated to the point of annoyance. The most egregious example of this occurs during the bridge, where Randles repeats the lyrics “Now I’m Changing” in an apparent attempt to build tension for the climax of the song but instead deflates any energy created previously.
“I Feel Fine” is the most adventurous track, with a catchy melody and satisfying structure. Randles’ orchestration feels more deliberate on this track, with synths cutting in and out to match the flow of the melody and a gradual breakdown in both instrumentation and tempo to the end of the song. However, this satisfying unravelling of sound suddenly cuts out completely, leaving only the solo voice, which feels contrived and stylistically out of place.
The final track, “Italy (EP Version),” is easily the strongest of the four. With a laid-back groove and spacey atmosphere reminiscent of a Connan Mockasin song, this track feels complete in a way the other tracks don’t. Randles leans into the psych-pop side of the bedroom genre, pitch shifting the synths with slight microtonal flairs. Additionally, there is a strong guitar melody present throughout that adds clarity to the array of synths. The track’s compositional strengths make it a no-brainer for closing out the EP.
A shared feature on all four tracks on Changin’ is its simple lyricism. The general theme of change—per the EP’s title—is its closest thematic tie, but the repetitive and simple lyrical content limits any further exploration. It is not like there is a requirement for detailed, evocative lyrics in a song for it to be deemed as “good.” On the contrary, sometimes the simplest of lyrics can have the biggest impact, as it steps away from the superfluous. However, in the case of Changin’, this limited lyrical content feels stale. It puts up yet another wall between the artist and the listener, as it is so broad thematically that it leaves little for the listener to truly connect to.
As a whole, Changin’ has some interesting elements scattered throughout but ultimately lacks substance. It’s impressive that Randles was able to record and produce this EP all on his own, but the convoluted scoring and low recording quality make it clear that this was self-made. This DIY quality provides a sense of intimacy and authenticity that can be lost in big budgets and fancy equipment, as the artist has full reign in its delivery. However, with limited lyrical expression and generic musical devices used throughout the four tracks, there isn’t much more authenticity to grasp. Changin’, unfortunately, leaves the listener questioning what the artistic voice of Good Posture even is, which is a question the young, emerging artist will hopefully solve with time.