Sam Levin’s latest single “Bookmark”
Sam Levin’s latest single, “Bookmark,” sees the young but very accomplished singer/songwriter expanding his sonic depth in a fascinatingly progressive manner. A delicately delivered acoustic guitar is flanked with bittersweet lyricism in what amounts to four minutes of solid, pristine pop wonderment, and though Levin’s vocal is always at the forefront of our attention, it doesn’t overshadow the fragility of this gorgeous minimalist melody. Anyone who has been looking for a lush but intellectually stimulating slab of original indie rock would do well to give this song a spin, as it represents one of the first really juicy alternative offerings of 2019. Levin shows off his dexterous style of songwriting without holding anything back from us, and imparts a brooding message that matches the bold melodicsim it’s so elegantly framed by.
The vocal track is light and sporty here, but it’s virtually inseparable from the homespun harmony rendered in the string arrangement. You could make the argument that because of how well-bonded Levin’s singing is to the guitar parts, we’re less inclined to focus on the dizzying percussive elements, which constrict around us slowly but surely over the duration of the song. There’s a certain level of controlled discord within the fabric of the rhythm, but it actually complements the straightforwardness of Levin’s style of attack perfectly. “Bookmark” is one of his most compositionally balanced singles to date, and though it’s amplified intricacies make it as forceful as any rock song, its soft finish prevents it from becoming a sorted exercise in experimentalism.
There’s an urban swing in the drums that induces chills as we work our way through the layers of emotion embedded in the melodies, but make no mistake about it – the guitar is the star of this single. Levin has really developed his six-string prowess since his last album, and in “Bookmark” we get to see the fruits of his studious labor. The guitar track is the linchpin holding all of the different facets in this song together, and while the lyrics are literate and direct narratively, I think that the strings are making just as much of a statement here, if not a slightly more emotive one. Whether you’re familiar with his previous work or not, you’d have to be crazy not to recognize the tremendous texture in his play on this single.
Yet another cutting indie ballad from a proven songwriter, “Bookmark” exemplifies why Sam Levin has risen through the ranks of the underground as fast as he has. Without over-exploiting his admittedly catchy hooks, he creates a thoroughly engaging listening experience for us in this song that rivals anything dominating the charts today, and further gives us an idea of what we can expect out of him in the future. Despite his young age, Levin demonstrates a level of talent that demands the attention of critics and listeners alike, and with three albums already under his belt, his sound is only getting better and more accessible with time. Unquestionably, this is among his finest work released unto us so far.