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Song Review: "Into the Blue" by The Joy Formidable

Jumping straight into the rhythm of the song, “Into the Blue” kicks off with a basic drum beat, a buzzing bass, and delayed guitar riff that will continue to define the entirety of the song. While repetitive, the effortless sway of this rhythm ultimately allows the band to play with the same musical elements without letting the song become stale. And while the lyrics explicitly convey themes involving water and depth, the careful manipulation of space between the various musical elements is considerably reflective of the movement expressed by ocean waves.

Further, by layering and scattering several guitar parts intermediately, and all with a slight delay, a natural pattern develops which implies a sort of ripple effect. In addition to intentional delays, the slight echo and reverb of both the strings and the vocals create further depth. Although there are not too many female vocalists that I listen to regularly, as there are few women leads found in subgenres of Rock, I really enjoyed the whisper-like sound of the female singer. Additionally, the brief inclusion of the male vocalist also created a really nice contrast, balancing out the lighter tones with weighted harmonies.

Upon first hearing this song, I was instantly reminded of a similar and somewhat nostalgic sound, yet I am finding it difficult to pinpoint the exact sound that initially resonated in my brain. Instrumentally complex but cohesive of a reflective tone, the closest thing I can compare the familiar sound to is the stream of New Wave, Britpop 80s bands like The Cure and Joy Division. But I still feel I have not properly executed the sound as accurately as I would like, which is driving me crazy.

I also took a peek at the music video, which was quite interesting to follow as I am not familiar with videos that marry such a style and format. A wide variety of shots and the use of overlays support the video with a feeling of chaos, which is further validated by dramatic lighting, sudden camera movements, and abrupt cuts between shots. The majority of the video is captured using a deep blue monochromatic scheme, keeping visual elements consistent with the reoccurring theme of water. There is also a hazy, ghost-like filter that creates a drowned-out feeling throughout the video. While I personally deemed a lot of the production to be amateur, and not necessarily in a good way, I found the ending to be super clever. As the song approaches the final chorus, the female singer is shown submerging into a clawfoot bathtub, until there is nothing left but the deep blue water, some weird looking fish, and floating lyrics. There is something isolating about large bodies of water, especially when you find yourself lost inside one.

Overall, my favorite element was the natural movement or ebb and flow of emotion expressed by the song and the video. “Into the Blue” is both rhythmic and reflective indeed.

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