James Burke’s very first album and high school senior project, Raw Tracks, was graded a D.

Despite the tough critique, the “experimental, poorly mixed jumble of sounds” compelled Burke to release his productions to the public. He has since continued to refine his brand and propel his sound into something more substantial and novel. “I have not taken any release in the past as seriously as this one,” Burke explains, “I’m finally at a point where I’m fully comfortable in my own skin and confident in the quality of what I’m creating.” Only now, with the release of his upcoming album, Future Eye, does Burke believe that he’s reached a new pinnacle in his music career, deeming this album a defining one.

For his upcoming album, Burke focuses his lens on the importance of living in the present and maintaining consciousness as he emphasizes the magnitude of the renowned phrase, carpe diem. His track, “2U,” written and recorded in his Allston bedroom, mixed by friend and Bay Faction drummer, Alex Agresti, is about the spurts of lucidity that one reaches after long periods of oblivion. “I feel that so much of my life consists of lost time… moments that I don’t feel particularly present in while they’re happening and won’t remember once they’re over,” he explained. Allowing himself to drift from the present moment allows for his days to go by unnoticed and therefore, unfulfilled.

The song opens with a stark introduction as Burke delivers his opening verse with phantom-like, synthesized vocals over a chilling silence: “I wake up nineteen times a day, each one gets a little harder to convey / the more I tend to drift away, the more I shut up and obey.” Burke explains, “I’m constantly waking up to the truth of what I need to do with my life before the weight of my immediate surroundings anesthetize me… once again.” “2U” is Burke’s active resistance of allowing himself to slip into this state of limbo and walk through life without reflection, and therefore, without meaning. “If I do not cling to these moments of clarity,” Burke sings, “I will become a resentful cog, a wasted potential.” This is his attempt to arrest the present before he wakes one day to the dreadful realization that he’s somehow let all of his days slip by without notice.

While his verses slowly progress upward both in tone and in meaning, he’s careful not to drown them out in melody, maintaining simplicity in sound. Burke blossoms into the chorus, repeating his personal mantra, “And I’ve been good, and I’ve been good, and I’ve been good to you.” Guitar chords then slowly rise from the silence and pulsating drums kick in, lifting himself up in assurance that he’s doing the best he can.

Burke concludes the track with this promise to himself: “Next time I’m awake, I’ll do what you say.” He explains, “It is the me that knows what he must do to live a fulfilled live, the me that tends only to exist in those brief moments of clarity before drifting away again.”

Listen to “2U” in full below and hear Burke perform live at The Farm in Allston on April 20th.

One Response

  1. dave nuttall

    great review. actually liked the song . i lived in allston for 3 years so he had me at that


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