In the tradition of underestimating great artists, we come to the review of Drake Bell's "Bitchcraft."
We all remember Drake Bell from the Nickelodeon TV series Drake & Josh, where he played a fictionalized version of himself opposite his television step-brother, and long time co-star Josh Peck.
Even then, he wrote and performed a lot of memorable tunes that somewhat stayed in the realm of pop-rock and punk, and perhaps gave me the wrong idea regarding where he'd take his career post-TV.
(My favorite of which stands at "Hollywood Girl," which is still now ringing in my ear incessantly, and I love it).
Truly the connoisseur of rock 'n' roll, Drake comes onto this one with a lot of seldom-seen flare. "Bitchcraft" has a much more jazzy, swing feel to it than I'm used to hearing from a modern day artist. At the first play, I had to do a triple-take to make sure I was still listening to Drake Bell, but that much becomes clear as soon as his signature rasp enters the mix.
Bell nails this one in with a railroad spike, to say the least. What's really cool about it is that it's not at all what you'd expect to be popular, or go over well with fans, but "Bitchcraft" has appeared to rave reviews on Twitter with fans boasting about it on an almost daily basis. The single is fun and original, and surprisingly hard to get out of your head once you've given it a listen.
Surprising, because most of the songs you'd expect to get stuck in there are repetitive pop songs. You know, the kind that have shallow repetitive lyrics, and an overused beat only slightly altered to make it sound like something different...
But true to his roots, Bell delivers on something that defines originality. Taking that road could've gone terribly wrong, especially considering how dead the era is in popularity. "Bitchcraft" takes you right to the dance floor, and feels out the '50s era greaser swing that's been missing from music since the dawn of rock music in the mid-late '60s and on. It's not at all what you'd expect to find in modern music, let alone from an artist who's made a name for himself playing modern pop-rock.
Excluding the mass of fans of the Fallout series, there aren't many who would readily jump onto something of this nature, or at least that's what modern history tells us. In unadventurous hands, it could've gone much differently, and incorporated some tacky things to make it more appealing to a younger audience. Oh, say, dubstep polyryhthms, and a little electronica mixed in. But Drake Bell is no DJ, thankfully, and so we're left with a damn-near-perfect good time.
Now, truthfully, I purposely avoided giving it a listen for a while. The why of it is because I cover so many pop-punk artists, and I figured that it was just another breakup song, but I can admit I was wrong. This is one you absolutely have to give a listen to. It may not be for everyone, but it certainly gets a big thumbs up for going place we haven't been in a long time.
Overall, the song not only has my stamp of approval as a music journalist, but Drake Bell has my full endorsement to take the strange, but awesomely executed, mix of genres to the next level.
Here's to hoping "Bitchcraft" will be a successful experiment with the artist, and that there'll be more of that to come. We could all use a taste of something surreal in what's been a fairly stagnant era.