“Same Side” by Dylan Dunlap is a catchy hit that can get stuck in your head (at least it did in mine) but in a good way. “Same side” is about disagreeing, maybe even fighting with someone while knowing deep down that they’re not your enemy and you should work together.
Dunlap describes his song as such: “It’s literally about telling my team I know they have my best interest in mind, but I’m a stubborn brat[.] I know they’re right, yet I don’t want to listen.” While “Same Side” is personal and stems from Dunlap’s own experience, many people do experience similar situations or feelings which are encompassed in all or even just in glimpses of Dunlap’s song.
Dunlap’s initial lyrics are a good example of some of the universality of his song. He opens singing: “i came to you with good news / why take away a good mood in an instant? / are you listening? / you rather tell me the truth.” Most people can relate to being on a high and having everything crash down when your thoughts are poked and prodded at for weaknesses. Dunlap, a couple lyrics later, sings “you’re just looking out for me”, acknowledging that the person has their best interest in mind, but that doesn’t ease the sting. Through being able to see themselves in similar situations and having similar feelings, the listener is able to connect with “Same Side.”
Another line that stood out to me was “i know it isn’t my way or the highway.” Dunlap’s use of a common idiom further connects with some of his American listeners as well as illustrating how sometimes it feels like there is no alternative, our minds jump to make the situation black and white, when in reality there are many possible outcomes.
Throughout the song, Dunlap’s choice of instruments and vocal delivery are different in the chorus from the rest of the song. During most of the song, Dunlap sings in a more talkative voice accompanied by a drum beat. The drum beat gives “Same Side” an upbeat feeling, contrasting the difficult situation it’s about. However in the chorus, the drum beat is joined by more electric sounding harmonies and Dunlap’s voice becomes higher pitched, almost floating like. His vocals sound less talkinglike and more songlike. This change really fits with the lyrics of the chorus. The chorus is about the conflict Dunlap and potentially others feel when they know the other person is right but they just don’t want to do it and having to remember they are both on the same side as the title literally states. By having the chorus contrast the rest of the song, the chorus delivers a stronger punch of the hardship of that situation with the airiness and higher vocals exemplifying those emotions. Furthermore, with the more instruments joining the drums, it’s hard to pick out one and they all kind of overwhelm, similar to how one may feel overwhelmed in the situation Dunlap is singing about.
Towards the end of the song, Dunlap isn’t singing, however the listener is able to discern what he might be saying as the instruments perfectly mimic and sing the lyrics to the listener.
Dylan Dunlap is a singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist based in LA. Dunlap has loved music since he was very young, learning to play new instruments and writing songs since he was in elementary school. In addition to his music, Dunlap is a proud advocate for mental health awareness and a recipient of the "Fighting Stigma Rising Star" award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness for his work. Dunlap has a new EP Stranger In My Head coming February 4th with Nettwerk Records. Dunlap’s music is inspired by Coldplay and Mumford and Sons.
Written by Anne Friedman