For the past few months now, local Dallas radio station 91.7 KXT has been randomly dropping a few new songs by Oscar Delaughter into their rotation. Imagine catching the tail end of a song that sounded really interesting, only for Shazam to tell you that song doesn’t exist. Luckily, KXT keeps a running playlist on their website but, frustratingly enough, when you would find that the song you missed was by Oscar Delaughter, there would be no link to Spotify or iTunes. The guy was a digital ghost in an era where that’s nearly impossible.
Just a few hours ago, Oscar Delaughter decided to step out into the light and surprise released his debut self-titled EP. It’s a shame that we had to wait this long for it because it is really quite good. Over the EP’s 19 minutes, Delaughter darts from genre to genre, displaying his Timberlake-esque swagger on Grand Prize to dabbling in alt-power-pop on Lost and You Don’t Know to showing he can hang with the best of the Soundcloud group on This Feelin and You Remind Me.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the first thing you hear from a new artist. Sometimes the artist has a crystal clear identity of exactly who and what they are and other times it’s more of a coming out party, showcasing all the different facets of their talent. On the Oscar Delaughter EP, it feels like a mix of both. Musically, Delaughter’s influences are pretty clear – JT, Post Malone, Future, and not surprisingly, his own dad, Tim Delaughter of The Polyphonic Spree/Tripping Daisy – and that’s not a bad thing. He is a young artist, still finding his style and direction, so why not use the sounds that he loves and create something of his own with them?
The reason, though, that I think this EP is more than just a collection of catchy songs in the popular styles of today, is the heart that it shows. Top 40 hasn’t ever really done a whole lot for me and it has less to do with the music than it does the content. When pop hits have nothing to say, there is no risk, no vulnerability, and no emotional connection with the listener. This EP feels, lyrically, very honest and I can’t imagine putting myself out there like that at such a young age – it seems to share more a kinship with mid-90’s emo music than it does with the music that it actually sounds like. And that, is the biggest reason to be excited about what we’ll hear in the future from Delaughter. In an age where it is increasingly easy to detach the worries and sadness from the perfect Instagram pictures, there is ever-growing need for artists like Delaughter who inject honesty and pathos into the music that already sounds perfect.
p.s. I have listened to Lost and You Remind Me probably 5 times each now – those two songs are simply outstanding. I also loved the nod to his dad with the vocal effects on You Don’t Know and using what sounds to me like a Spree-related Placid Audio Copperphone mic on the second verse of Lost. The production on Lost should also be noted…Greg Kurstin would be proud!