Nashville-based singer-songwriter Larissa Tandy has concocted a masterful track that blends sounds reminiscent of 1960s beach music, grunge guitars, and modern Nashville country. From the soulful vocal performance, clever songwriting, and engaging instrumentation, “Drive” is a track that stands out.
“Drive” makes its mark via the songwriting. Everything in the track centers around the narrative portrayed by the lyrics. The inspiring lyrics tell the story about leaving a seemingly abusive, or at least unsatisfactory relationship, and moving on, but not just surviving the breakup, but rather winning the breakup. Lines like “I’m tired of being a passenger in my own life,” “I’d rather be alone than afraid,” give the track a fierce independence. “I can’t wait another day to leave you behind” builds off of independence, and branches into rebellious energy. The super upbeat, almost beachy sound supports lyrics about overcoming a breakup, and really leaning into and celebrating that breakup. My personal favorite piece of songwriting can be found in the chorus: “I can shoulder a little bit of blame, and I can live with a little bit of shame.” I think Larissa Tandy scratches the surface of a deeper societal theme here: victim blaming. Especially in traditional male vs. female domestic conflict, there can be a certain level of victim blaming at play, and “Drive” doesn’t shy away from exploring it. The peppy sound gives contrast to the majority of the lyrics, creating a more interesting listening experience.
The instrumentation of “Drive” is also very strong. I enjoyed how the rhythm guitars have a tint of grunge, contrasting with folky acoustic sounds, and the erratic bounce of the bass line was also great. The accents given by the retro-sounding keyboard were also very engaging. The vocal performance is very rich, and the velvety voice coupled well with the range of the instruments, something that I think separates songs that are “okay” from songs that are great. I also really enjoyed the harmonizing behind the vocals throughout the song, but the most powerful part of the track in my opinion is the constant harmony throughout the bridge. The vocals giving texture to the bridge endows the track with an anthemic feel, and further supports the overarching theme of breaking away and moving forward.
Larissa Tandy has created a song that centers on contrast, and on triumph. “Drive” is a folksy breakup track that takes the listener immediately to the other side of a breakup, with no qualms about it. The vocal performance is strong, the instrumentation blends well together, and the songwriting shows why Larissa Tandy is a recipient of the prestigious Nashville Songwriter Residency, a scholarship of sorts that allows Australian songwriters to live and work in the Music City. I am looking forward to hearing more from Tandy, and you should too.