- Clay Riedesel
Records Are For Lovers Co-Owner and good friend Mylynda Nellermoe contacted me to write a review of Brandon Sidney’s (stage name Kid Sid) new EP Rule The World. My task is simple: listen to the EP, write about it, and be honest. I’ve been forewarned that Brandon writes R&B/Electronica fusion music. This is relevant because whenever I listen to good music intended to make people dance, regardless of how sober or alone I am I dance (badly) like nobody is watching. At the moment, I’m typing this in a library surrounded by several onlookers. So this is bound to be interesting, or at the very least embarrassing.
The EP opens with the title song “Rule The World." Immediately, a piercing guitar riff catches your attention while two background synths duel it out for harmony and rhythm dominance. Thirty seconds into the song the drum beat kicks in, and despite that I’m writing this from a laptop connected to a pair of headphones (my laptop sucks, the speakers don’t work) I can’t seem to keep myself from awkwardly chair dancing.
Fortunately for any onlookers “Rule The World” quickly leads into “Intoxicated”, a heartfelt rhythm and blues ballad about alcohol and it’s strange ability to get even the ugliest duckling laid provided said duckling drinks enough beverages with ethanol content. Now, we both know the market is saturated with songs like these, but what separates Kid Sid from the competition is instead of reveling in the hedonism of it all, he admits his faults in a way that manages to be depressing, empathetic, and masculine all at the same time: “I’m gonna chug shot after shot/so I can reach you/You’re the fuel to my addiction, hun/I’ve got to have you”. Unfortunately for my library audience (I’ve had several people stare at me already, including a cute girl I have no hope of seducing now), “Intoxicated” is just as danceable as “Rule The World”. It’s far slower though, so instead of jerking around like someone suffering from a seizure ala Thom Yorke, my audience has to suffer watching me rhythmically sway my body in that awkward way only really white people can move in perfect rhythm and still look retarded.
“Intoxicated” leads into “Explode”, another electronica dance number with subtle hip hop influences. For the first 45 seconds of the song I’m safe. The song opens with a guitar arpeggio followed by a subtle drum beat and Brandon’s vocals: “I’ve never been crazy in my life/but there’s a first time for everything/so I’m gonna try something new/and take a jab at loving you”. Immediately after those vocals end a violin chimes in with a single piercing note as the drums slowly ramp up their intensity. 45 seconds into the song the drums are in full force, the violin note holds a hypnotic sway over my mind, Brandon’s vocals float smoothly through my ears, a subtle layer of synths adds a light fullness to everything, and once again I’m dancing like the uncoordinated white fool I am.
The best way for me to describe my current dancing is imagine a walrus sitting in a chair spasmodically heaving up and down. Sort of like a headbang minus the neck movement. Cute-girl-I-have-no-chance-with is staring at me with a mixture of curiosity, amusement, and revulsion. So of course I flash her my biggest shit eating grin as “Explode” leads into “Indestructible”. I’m praying that nobody with any authority taps me on the shoulder and politely asks me to leave.
“Indestructible” opens with Brandon’s vocals and a mellow synth providing harmony. 15 seconds in the drums inconspicuously join the fray with a simple varying eighth note improv. 28 seconds in hand claps begin keeping the beat and at this point my head is bobbing up and down. I’m hoping to keep my white-boy dancing to a bare minimum and for approximately sixty seconds I’m successful, but then at 0:54 everything drops out save a very faint kick drum beat before everything blasts back at full force. Out of all the songs on Rule The World, “Indestructible” is by far the easiest to dance to, even for an uncoordinated klutz like me. The song switches between balls to the wall beat blasting and subtle, intense melodic pauses that up the musical tension and only make the release to full blown dance mode all the sweeter. At 3:44 things begin slowing down and at 4:09 Brandon lets his hip hop influences take over as he begins rapping: “You need everything you’ve got to destroy me/Aim and fire away/Stand alone in this war I’m a solider/Every struggle that I face makes me tougher/Aim and fire away. Afterwards things become danceable for a little while before the song ends with the sound of an explosion and flames burning the rubble.
At this point I’ve already had a librarian politely tell me to calm down or I’ll be asked to leave, and hot-girl-I-have-no-chance-with has gone somewhere else. So I packed up my things and am currently finishing this article sitting on a park bench enjoying the cool May weather.
For a no name wannabe upstart from Chicago, Brandon is damn good. His only problem is that Rule The World is an EP that caters specifically to the DJ and clubbing crowd. If you happen to be a mellow folk lover and classic rock junkie like myself, then I recommend you pass on adding Rule The World to your collection, despite it’s well deserved merit. If you love getting blackout drunk, badly dancing at clubs, and blare dubstep at ear bleeding volumes while driving down the highway, then Rule The World would be a fantastic choice to add to your music library. If you like electronica or alternative R&B, then I can’t recommend it enough.