Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by Cheryl Waters, host of the Midday Show on KEXP, is "Kingdom" by Jason McCue, from the 2022 album Screen, Turn On on Fluff & Gravy.


 
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photo by Nathaniel Legg
written by jasmine albertson

KEXP has long been supporters and fans of local artist Jason McCue. First bursting on the scene as the 2017 winner of Sound Off!, which sees artists under 21 showcase their talent for a shot at the coveted prize. Since then, he’s gone on to release three records, 2018’s Pangaea, Wasteland in 2019, and, most recently, Screen, Turn On.

Recorded during the pandemic, the record sees McCue grapple with his reliance on technology as the world became a more insular place. Our Song of the Day, “Kingdom,” hones in on other vices that often sneak up and then terrorize those in vulnerable headspaces. In the song, our narrator experiences a heavy night of drinking, leaving them lost and bloody, with their lover pleading with them to stay the night before doing anything else wreckless.

In a tone that sounds as if Elliot Smith was reincarnated, McCue quavers “But my baby said to me /Don’t you go home /Stay here with me /I know you’ve been drinking all night long /Don’t you go home” over an urgently strummed acoustic guitar while another electric guitar offers warbled flourishes. The intensity of the message and the vulnerability of the narrator’s position is felt through the constantly changing dynamics that slow down at the end with layered vocals mimicking the narrator’s fading mind and resolve.

Watch McCue’s KEXP in-studio performance of the song “Ocean,” which was finally released five years later on Screen, Turn On below.

 

 

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