Clearly singer-songwriter Derek Hagan, better known as Rockidle is working in a realm in which he seems very well-suited. Hearing him strut and swagger through his latest track “Vinyl Junkies” – which dropped officially on 3oth September – offers all the evidence needed that he has the drive and determination to convincingly continue to create new songs, even after he has already written around 400 up until now. Born and raised in Ireland, grown up in England, and settled down in Finland, Rockidle not only searches for catchy melodies and hooks, but builds stories that communicate messages in his songs. His latest is no different. “Vinyl Junkies is the story of another fictional character whose love (or obsession), for all things Vinyl, brings his relationship with his partner to an ultimatum. Her or his Vinyl collection? He chooses his vinyl,” explains the songwriter.
“Relationships are all about compromise,” continues Rockidle. “While the song’s theme is Vinyl, it could be anything we see value in books, stamps, football programs, cars, art, little pets (!), fashion, anything we as humans like to collect and from time to time have to declutter. But for this particular guy there is no compromise,” he concludes. “Vinyl Junkies” is a solid effort injected with a satisfying shot of gritty sincerity.
There are few musicians that can hold their own in comparison to the greats, when it comes to in-depth songwriting, something Rockidle manages rather comfortably. “Vinyl Junkies” once again sets the indie and alt-rock and pop bar high, with Rockidle’s biting narrative and relentless vocals taking center stage. The fire and determination of the turmoil raging here, is rousing – stirring the emotions that run deeply inside the song. And often pushing the track to an anthemic singalong status.
Rockidle has a rustic spirit that obviously comes from a life truly lived, and as such the stories he tells, the experiences he has gained, and the choices he has made along the way, can be savored with every strum of his guitar or sound of his voice. This all comes through, in what is for all intents and purposes, a fictitious narrative, built on a robust, and hard-driving soundscape.
Despite the fairly bombastic attitude of the track, Rockidle intrinsically remains a story-teller. It’s incredible that in a three and a half minute upbeat song, you can feel just as attached to the narrative, as if you’ve watched a full-length film. Rockidle’s guitar-playing and singing philosophy, is to ‘serve the song’, which has translated into supreme talent as a songwriter. It is this which has allows him to distinguish himself from the many musical voices we are exposed to daily.
Various skills in songwriting and arranging are on display here, as the coalescing of instruments, the backing vocals, and the groovy rhythms, form the highly impressionable choruses which has lots going on within it. The song is very different to “Degeneration”, the last single from Rockidle I listened to, and is further proof that no matter in which direction the songwriter goes musically, it ends up sounding like gold.