Isn’t it invigorating to feel like a cowboy sometimes? It’s the freedom, rugged persona, and general appeal of being a lone wolf with the world in the palm of your hands. Every now and then, we come across remnants of that raw blues power in many contemporary styles, and it always emits that freeing sense of emotional relief. Stephen Babcock’s song, “Devil” has blues-infused rock n’ roll loaded in the chamber of his hip-shooter, and it couldn’t sound better. We’ve all felt the sort of deep longing that ignites a good howl at the moon. Take a closer listen!
Stephen Babcock isn’t new to receiving media buzz on well-rounded releases. The singer/songwriter from Upstate New York is sitting on a few impressive titles, including Said and Done and his Fiction EP. Since the release of Fiction, he’s followed up with a couple of hair-raising singles. “Devil” is second to “Fight I Need”, which dropped earlier this year as a brisk summer single should. The years leading up to his first album were spent writing and touring. Since that time, he’s grown into a formidable songwriter with a versatile backdrop of songs. Vocally, he has a warm texture that feels like a childhood home. He’s a modern songwriter with just a hint of a classic flare, which puts him in a good position overall.
“Devil” opens with an acoustic guitar riff that Robert Johnson would probably enjoy trading licks with.
See you wanderin’
Like a banshee
How you howl,
oh, I’d scream for you
You’re so pretty
I just want to
Bury myself in you
As the song actually opens up, things get aggressive lyrically, yet the instrumentals hang back a bit. we get some subdued blues-rock with everything you’d expect. The organ and blues guitar licks really make a statement and set the song outside the current a little. Compared to his other tracks, this one leans towards elements of classic rock while keeping things locked on his likable vocal persona.
Is She Gonna Take My Soul?
Throughout the song, we get a playful, almost malicious, wordplay that mimics the struggle an addict might experience. Although the delivery is somewhat tame, there’s a devious quality to the lyrics. It’s not hard to question if Babcock went too far; however, it’s important to understand the essence of the blues, the genre that acts as a precursor to just about every musical genre today. The blues capture the sadness and desperation capable of ‘everyman’, regardless of the object of desire. It’s practically universal. Back in the day, Delta blues was the original “Life Sucks” playlist. Instead of looking too deeply into Babcock’s intentions behind the song, focus on the purely human emotions spurred by desire. Look at it as a nod to a time when blues music was a deeply personal remedy to an empty wallet or a broken heart. Stephen Babcock builds on it in a very to-the-point way. Is it too aggressive? Too suggestive?
…possibly? It depends on your cup of tea.
Nevertheless, I think Babcock did an excellent job of putting on a strong play of emotions that happens to spark worthy questions about how far a human heart can go.
Love it or hate it, Stephen is a worthy songwriter. I wouldn’t mind popping into one of his shows to see what else he has in store.
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