Relationships that are good, but often are bad seem to be the catalyst for at least ninety-some-percent of the records I listen too. I can relate. I have a Spotify playlist that I have been adding songs to for the past seven months or so. There are about four hundred plus songs on there to date. Often I’ll just put it on shuffle. And every time I do I it seems that somehow without fail most of the songs are depressing, or at least quiet. And most of them have to do with either a breakup or if I’m lucky an addiction of some sort that someone’s fighting through.
Speaking of records and songs heavily influenced by relationships another one that comes to mind right this second is Should I Be Loved? by Orlando singer-songwriter Julian Baner. I’ll admit that I laughed when I first saw the title. Barnes just comes out and asks this rhetorical question that many people after facing a breakup likely don’t think about. They’re generally too busy tending to extreme pain or extreme anger. I thought here’s a guy who’s either got a lot of balls or is on the brink of madness.
After a few spins of Should I Be Loved? I’d venture that perhaps he’s a little bit of both. To call the record “stripped down” would be a bit of an understatement. Beginning with the opening title track, on which we are introduced to the keyboard which we will soon become very acquainted with throughout the duration of the record, Baner makes it clear that lo-fi pop delivered with funky melodies and stripped down drum beats are the way he’s going to mend his broken heart. The process works pretty well throughout Should I Be Loved? Take for instance the slow roll and space-y sound effects combined with a whistle solo on “Suburban Coffee,” or the borderline fancy riffs on “You Should Be Around” and even the supremely sonic sounding “Some Kind of Haunted.”
When Should I Be Loved? takes a more mellow turn, as it does on the beautifully sparse ballad “Places Without You,” it reminded me a bit of The Magnetic Fields and The Sixths, and Stephen Merrit’s ability to turn the extremely painful into a something one just wants to hear on repeat.
As far as breakup records go, Should I Be Loved? is definitely one to consider, especially for anyone who’s in the throes of or still suffering from post-traumatic breakup syndrome. It’s got spark and magic to it and who knows it might just pull you out of that funk and make you wanna get back out there and have your recently healed heartbroken all over again.
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