Bobby Bofman – Happy Rhythm – EP Review
We’ve got twice as much Bofman for you as we did last time! Back with the first of two EPs here in review, we first checked out his music around March/April of last year through various singles and the release of his song “Plus One” – and it’s great to hear this guy start out 2019 with a Happy Rhythm to get the year off on the right notes. A songwriter that’s earned multiple accolades and awards for his writing & music in the past, it’s always safe to assume you’ll get well-crafted tunes from Bobby Bofman – but what I think people will also really appreciate is that he’s never limited the potential for his own style or sound. He tries a lot of things and is unafraid to venture into all kinds of different ideas – and you know we’ve got love for that here…that’s what being an artist is truly all about. Bobby gets that. He’s got all kinds of new songs in the mix here over these two back-to-back releases – we’ll be posting up a review on his other EP called Maybe Today as well – but for now, let’s dig into the Happy Rhythm EP first.
“Happy Rhythm” – you know…it’s almost his own “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in a way…lyrically especially. Substitute the whistling sounds of Bobby McFerrin for some harmonica, trumpets, and a sweet guitar solo and there you have it, basically the same song! Okay…I’m kidding. Different songs for sure, but the sentiment is certainly very similar. “Happy Rhythm” is one of those tunes designed to relax ya while still being uplifting & energetic in its approach. What I’m ultimately saying is what Bobby expresses in the very first line of the song itself, where he sings: “We all like a Happy Rhythm” – he’s not wrong at all. The uplifting thread that runs through this song is like a universal all-access pass in terms of accessibility – it’s not age specific whatsoever; it’s not exactly designed for kids, but I suspect they’d likely dig this too. In some ways, that’s a great thing – it’ll open doors for Bobby’s music in terms of who it can reach and how far it can go…and as a single, I think it’d do really well with an all-ages crowd. Where I think “Happy Rhythm” gets a bit more compromised for its potential reach might be the inclusion of it on this very EP, or at the least, maybe in the spot that it’s in, leading into “Daddy’s Little Girl” to follow. Essentially, it’s a somewhat strange choice to have the most all-ages style of song lead into what’s decidedly more complex and adult-oriented in theme on the song to follow. Even with the sound of each of these four songs having their own distinct vibe, I probably would have switched up “Daddy’s Little Girl” with “She Wins” in the lineup to ease us into that switch in direction & sound as opposed to make such a noticeably bolder transition between “Happy Rhythm” and “Daddy’s Little Girl” as it is now. All that aside, you’ll find this whole set has a solid lineup of tunes & “Happy Rhythm” still qualifies as part of that – it’s got personality, it’s fun, it’s lighthearted, and completely designed to remind us that “everything will work out fine” in the end – again, he’s not wrong, or at the very least, I agree with him. Love the guitar solo on this tune and I also think the main hooks are a powerful crowd-pleaser for sure – you can definitely hear the potential for people to sing along with “Happy Rhythm.”
“She Wins” has Bobby leaning on the Country-Blues/Americana-Rock side of his sound. Rhythmically rolling through a classic style of songwriting that’s always a crowd pleaser – listen to Bobby’s vocals on this tune and you’ll admire the amount of tone & technique he’s applying. The man’s got style and you can audibly hear it in his voice on this third tune from the Happy Rhythm EP. I’ll put it to you this way – I don’t think there’s anyone out there that digs this style of music that would be inclined to turn this off – “She Wins” is timeless in that sense; like a guaranteed win. Does it further Bobby’s music or challenge him writing/performance-wise? That’s a tougher question to answer. “She Wins” comes out so smooth and so flawless from the music to the microphone that you have to wonder if Bobby could make a track like this all day every day if he wanted to. I don’t think I’m pointing anything out that he hasn’t already likely considered himself – at the end of the day, a lot of making music is about playing what we really want to play. That doesn’t mean we have to go out and recreate the wheel every single time we step into the studio – sometimes we just want to get that rhythm & groove flowing and feel that vibe & freedom that only the magic of music can truly provide. “She Wins” is definitely like that for me – I’ve had no problem turning this tune right up and celebrating right along with Bobby here, even if things aren’t exactly working out for him in the storyline of the lyrics of this tune, he’s winning when it comes to a style really well-suited to him. Everything about this cut fits him like a hand to a glove.
For me, hands down, “Roller Coaster” takes the cake as my favorite on this record. Usually it’s not so clear cut, but Bobby’s worked with four unique approaches & styles throughout this short experience, and this last track happens to really dive deep into its melodic atmosphere…a real soul-soothing sound at work on this song. Vocally, I also think it’s Bobby’s best performance; I don’t want to take a single thing away from what he’s been able to do with each of these songs – he’s sounded excellent on each of’em – but again, there’s just something truly special, endearing, comforting, and real about the sound of his voice on “Roller Coaster.” If I’m not mistaken, it’s the second time the piano shows up as well on this EP – and that’s a known asset in Bofman’s music that we’ve experienced in the past; I don’t blame the man for switching it up and branching out on the previous tunes, but MAN is it nice to hear it show up again in the starring role of his music here at the end. “Roller Coaster” is a well-crafted cut that flexes Bobby’s innate abilities as a songwriter’s songwriter – but he goes beyond the craft to really establish the connection to his insightful words of wisdom with the performance he puts into this tune. The sincerity comes radiating through…Bobby sings it in a way that comes from deep inside, where you can tell he’s considered these words he’s singing about long & hard before finding the way he wanted to say them. Great mix on the music, I think everything sits in its space perfectly on this gentle melody; excellent crispness to the snare, subtle bass rhythm keeping the song in-line, gorgeous piano, exceptional guitar solos that are likely the best you’ll find on a short record that’s full of’em, and vocals that really deliver that mix of wisdom, experience, emotion, and genuinely endearing sound that connects to us as listeners. Like hearing advice from your very best friend, there’s a wonderful comforting feeling throughout “Roller Coaster” that Bobby captures perfectly in his vocals. He gets a brilliant warmth into this song that’s part Cohen/Bowie at times, part Crosby, Stills, and Nash or Blue Rodeo at others…stunningly executed & inviting, it’s a genuine highlight to end the Happy Rhythm EP on.
Make sure to find out more about Bobby Bofman through the official pages below!
Official Website: https://bobbybofman.com
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