City Rain has always been a vehicle for catharsis, whether it was frontman Ben Runyan leaping around with frenetic energy to booming Fatboy Slim-esque beats in the duo’s early days, or the more sentimental electropop turn it took on the transitional EP, Montage.
When the band debuted its single “The Optimist” a year ago, it heralded an even bigger sound, heightened drama and a more impactful emotional release. It was heart-on-the-sleeve, and it totally worked. This feeling carries across Songs for a High School Dance, City Rain’s third LP, which we’re featuring all week long on Unlocked, the Key’s regular spotlight on new and significant releases from Philadelphia artists.
The album title is very telling – it speaks to both levels City Rain works at, crafting music that makes you want to feel like a teenager, until you remember the feelings of a real-live emotional teenager. (To paraphrase James Murphy.) Runyan has talked a lot already about depression, antidepressants and the various way they play into the songs on Songs. In a sense, it’s a collection of music about learning to feel again.
Tomorrow we’ll bring you an album review, with a music video spotlight on Wednesday, an interview on Thursday and a travelogue from Runyan, a personal journey of sorts, on Friday. Today, we spoptlight “Waiting on a Feeling,” the apex of the album’s second act, and one of the most ecstatic and affecting vocal performances Runyan has delivered. Check it out below – thanks to the band, we’re offering it as a free download all week.
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