Stately, polished, and yet still so wonderfully accessible and earthy, the guitars that slip and slide their way through the elegant new single from Joseph Eid, “Listening to Madonna,” are full of hope and optimism, much in the same way that the honeysweet vocal from the man of the hour is. “Listening to Madonna” is the first we’ve heard from Joseph Eid since last year’s “Misunderstood,” and he’s kicking off the summer right in this tribute to youth, maturity and retrospection. This swanky, acoustic-based single is pop with a folk punch, and it might just be the most stylish sound that Eid has shared with us since originally hitting the scene back in 2010.
The percussion is swinging hard here, but it never intrudes on the vocal track’s meticulously designed spot in the center of the spotlight. This mix is sharp and eruditely expressive, but I like that it isn’t so tight that we lose sight of the texture in the grooves. There’s a lot for hardcore audiophiles to take apart in this song, but for those of us who simply like to sweat to a bold beat that’s been matched up with a mightily melodic, somewhat exotic vocal, “Listening to Madonna” is smooth, unfanciful in its surreal harmonies, and uninhibited by silly scene politics.
We’re granted access to Joseph Eid’s backyard BBQ in the music video for this song, and the fact that the visuals aren’t saturated in high definition refinement gives it a chill-factor that just isn’t possible without bringing a little bit of graininess into the fold. There have been scores of interesting videos debuting these last two months, but this is one of the more emotive that I’ve personally sat down and watched. It’s got the alternative aesthetic down perfectly, but it’s no throwback to the simpler times of the 90’s; for an artist that prides himself on being progressive-minded, this vintage look is among the best that he’s sported to date.
You can tell that a lot of time and effort went into making both the music video for “Listening to Madonna,” as well as the single itself, and I think that Eid shows more attention to detail in this latest effort than any of us could have expected him to. He’s never let me down as a fan in the past, but this composition challenges him to push his vocal to the very limits that he shied away from skirting in Human. He’s obviously ready for the primetime now, and I’m not the only music journalist saying as much this June.
I wasn’t following Joseph Eid very closely before “Listening to Madonna,” but this single is so hard to put down that I plan on exploring his entire body of a work a little more this summer. Pop music’s all-time greats, Madonna included, didn’t become legends on the strength of one song alone, and if Eid can expand on the blueprint of this track in his next full-length release, I’m sure that he’s going to emerge from the studio with a lot more respect from his peers in the industry than he ever could have dreamed of attaining. He’s got a talent that is undeniably natural, and right now he’s doing some really awesome things with it.