Single Review: Nathan Ball - Waste of Time | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Single Review: Nathan Ball – Waste of Time

Kylie McCormick argues the case for Nathan Ball being the mouthpiece of a generation with his superb new single

The millennial generation has often been deemed the ‘confusing generation’. It's only natural - in the historical cycle each generation confuses the older; millennials, with our avocado toast and lack of home buying, certainly seem to be the bane of much comedy and frustration. Part of this stems from the shift in economic value that has come to epitomize thoughts - millennials are no longer obsessed with goods consumption, but rather many of us regulate our idea of happiness through the consumption of experiences. With the growing angst of normality, perhaps millennials are evolving into beings of exploration.

Whereas some artists in the genre flood the lyrics with specificity, Nathan paints with broad strokes, presenting enough information to start a story without giving a specified narrative

Sometimes this wanderlust vagabond path is fraught with pitfalls, as a single road diverges into numerous possibilities at every next step. Nathan Ball’s new single 'Waste of Time' is the perfect reflection of this great debate of hypothetical futures that seem to plague our lives and our minds.

Beachy singer songwriter Nathan Ball has produced numerous hits that are perfect amalgamations of swaying vibes and punchy lyrics. 'Waste of Time' brings to the stage an ambient rock sound, a bit of a new aesthetic. While most of Nathan’s music is road trip worthy, 'Waste of Time' brings about a bit of a darker edge. With the slow build of instrumentals crashing like the wave on a pebble beach, Nathan pulls in a more uniform drum pattern that conveys the racing of time towards an impending end. The racing drum is juxtaposed by the punctuation of instrumental and lyrical breaks, giving the song a really lovely open breathy feel. The structure of the song perfectly demonstrates that uneasy and vulnerable journey of discovery, of choosing the next path and admits the endless possibilities of the future.

Nathan pairs the sonic structure with perceptively vague lyrics. Whereas some artists in the genre flood the lyrics with specificity, Nathan paints with broad strokes, presenting enough information to start a story without giving a specified narrative. The repetition of 'driving around all night' perfectly anchors what seems to be a song about wrestling with ones decisions and future. As one listens you can certainly picture yourself, perhaps sitting besides Nathan, driving in the darkness contemplating the void of both the night and of their life.

Very few songs create an atmosphere that addresses a generation normative. Nathan Ball with 'Waste of Time' has done just that. Crafting a song that structurally and lyrically generate a vision of ones deep esoteric journey of discovery, Nathan Ball once again proves that his ability to curate brilliant tunes is unparalleled.

'Waste of Time' is available to stream now. Nathan Ball plays London on October 19th.

Music contributor from Los Angeles. PhD in Music Festivals and Identity. (@kyliemccormick)



Published

12th August 2017 at 9:30 am



Images from

Nathan Ball



Share