By now, Max Stockin should be known to most of the Worcester population, if you’ve not seen him performing at local venues such as The Swan, The Hand in Glove and various open mic nights, the chances are you’ve seen him busking in Worcester, Cheltenham, Hereford.. the list goes on.
As well as keeping up his live musical presence, this hard working local musician continues to write his own material. Although his live performances mostly contain covers, sometimes you are lucky enough to catch one of his original tunes thrown into the mix, too. His latest single, 2016, is out now, and he says it’s his favourite song of those he’s written so far. Based on a love triangle he was caught up in during the title year, this single shows a more vulnerable side, and the music to the track pulls literally at the heart strings.
The first time you listen to this track, I strongly recommend you watch the accompanying video on YouTube. Filmed within Worcesters iconic Guildhall by James Kay,it opens with Max walking through, picking up his guitar and standing behind the microphone. A beautiful, haunting note progression and echoing vocals lead up to the first chorus, conveying a foreboding feeling of turmoil and upset, ready to musically paint the picture of what proves to be a toxic experience. The vocals begin, softly, to build up what, at first, appears to be a tale of love,of being together in the summer of 2016, but quickly turns into the truth, which is that games were being played, lies being told.
The chorus is powerful, relief that it’s all over, no more being dragged back into an unhealthy relationship, and how there’s hope everyone else will soon see through it all too. The last line of the chorus is a stab to the heart, pure emotion. The way it’s almost spoken in a reposeful manner, feels like a grasp at some kind of closure. Verse two starts the same way, gentle moments of fond reflection, with the delicate musical arrangement,,willowy and light behind it, adding the right mood for such a tragic turn of emotional events. The start of each verse offering up a little hope, before its taken away by the harsh reality of how it all turned out.
A lot of time was spent writing and re-writing this song, as Max was so keen to get the “feeling” across both in musical production and lyrically. As far as conveying this heart-rending situation, I think he’s hit the nail on the head.
The music is a thought provoking arrangement of notes set to draw our feelings out, and as ever, the vocals here take the reigns to really drive that sentiment of utter heartbreak, out.
The song as a whole evokes a response, it sets a scene before the lyrics begin to even hint at what the storyline is. You can hear the passion, and you feel the empathy towards the situation as the sympathetic melody leans into the words. The track ends in the same way it’s started, a melancholy echo as we are left to unravel how we’d also feel after our dreams were shattered.
The accompanying video features Ryan on drums and the late Olly Irwin, whose performance here was the last project Max worked on with him. The video is dedicated to him, and all of our thoughts are with him and his loved ones. A beautifully, fitting tribute to a talented young man.
By: Kate Ford