SOTD – Amsterdam by Gregory Alan Isakov

This is exactly what you’d expect a plaintive acoustic musician’s representation of his trip though Europe to sound like. Quaint, charming, and ever so light, “Amsterdam” illustrates the rich history and calming lifestyle of one of Europe’s most cultured cities. The wire brush brazes away at the snare while the same several chords are gently repeated over and over, leaving listeners imagining themselves carelessly strolling through those historic waterside paths. In fact, that’s just what “Amsterdam” sounds like: some seriously impressive street music. It isn’t the type of street music that would draw a massive crowd, but it’s the type of street music that beckons a nearby bench to gradually witness to the best unknown concert in town.

Even the slightest of reflective temperaments can pick up on the beautiful interruption Isakov lays towards the song’s climax. The passage reads: “Churches and trains; they all look the same to me now. They shoot you someplace, while we ache to come home somehow.” His strained voice marvels at the wonders of existence yet struggles with commonalities that have left him questioning life’s purpose. There’s wisdom to be found here, as despite that Isakov may be pointing out overbearing societal problems, he’s taking a jab at human instinct as well. The music video does well to animate this subtle point, as everyday elements provide so much beauty, yet people still find ways to nitpick any remote societal drawbacks that could just as easily go unnoticed. In other words, amidst serenity Isakov makes room for a flawless intro into a depressive moral in. What a typical singer/songwriter!

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