Hazy, dreamy summer days are on the horizon, and “Track Shoes” by Leon in the Wild is here to be your soundtrack to those sundrenched days. It’s a quintessential psychedelic rock sound mixed with elements of bedroom pop and a tinge of punk. Mix them together, and you get an edgy mosaic that will make your indie heart aflutter.
Those lofty harmonies on the chorus, notably the lyric “say goodbye,” sound like they’re straight from the 60s psychedelic era, especially when coupled with the lazy summer groove that will only ever be associated with sunny California. Though every once in a while, he really shreds and shouts, but only in fleeting moments to break up the structure of the song. They’re surprising moments, but work incredibly well when we dive into the lyrics.
The opening line to the song is, “I hope it all goes well,” but is immediately followed with “I really hope you don’t die alone/with roaches at your funeral”. Talk about a complete 180. But it’s a relatable one, isn’t it? Wanting to be the bigger person and wish the other well, but not being able to fully let go of the past and any remaining animosity. That attitude comes back later when he sings, “really happy for all your progress,” like he knows exactly what he’s supposed to say even though he doesn't totally mean it.
When we look at the music and lyrics together, we see those moments of animosity really come out when the music gets intense. It’s like we’re hearing his train of thought exactly as it happens– it starts composed, gets bitter, but he has to resolve it within himself because that’s the social norm, that’s what’s expected of him. It’s a theatrical approach that brings life and raw emotion to the lyrics.
As the song comes to a close, all the sounds come to a head– synths, guitar, and especially layered vocals, both singing and spoken word. It creates an atmosphere of disorientation and confusion, further highlighting how he’s so unsure of how he feels. Does he want this person to be well off, or does he not forgive them and wish them the worst? It deserves a number of listens to really come to a conclusion, and I’m not entirely sure there’s one single right answer. Each time I’ve listened to it, I’ve found a new angle to approach it from, which changes the meaning drastically. To me, that’s a true sign of good songwriting– leave people all the clues, but never give them the answer.
Leon in the Wild is the brainchild of a Northern California native instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. He has performed, written for, and recorded other artists, and this is his first time “in the wild” as his own musical persona, thus the name Leon in the Wild. His single “You Can Leave a Mess in Here” has been featured on IndieShuffle’s Best of 2020 playlist and FloodFM's Aaron Axelsen's New Music Mixtape. “Track Shoes” is his return to music after a short hiatus, and the release of his debut EP is set to come out soon.
Written by Jess Ward