Pick of the Week: Jean Dawson “Pirate Radio*”

By Erin Norton, Staff Writer

Impeccably closing out his third album CHAOS NOW*, “PIRATE RADIO*” from Jean Dawson shows that he isn’t afraid of being vulnerable.



To make music is to be vulnerable, but the second single from Dawson’s most recent album uses a perfect combination of lyricism and stylistic choices in its sound to convey openness. The song begins with the most earnest sounding acoustic guitar and is quickly accompanied with the sweet tang of fiddle along with a light assortment of other strings, a personal favorite musical touch of mine. Soon after, the lyrics begin as honest as they come: “Push my head underwater / See how long it’ll hold / Way down deep in the end / Rinse the sins from my clothes.”

Not only do the lyrics of the song address themes of rebirth, but so does the actual composition. The song begins more on the mellow side, but then shifts dramatically into a louder chorus. The instruments introduced in the beginning seem to be heightened and boosted in the chorus, giving them new life, adding more meaning to the lyrics. After the chorus, the song shifts back to a slightly softer sound, until the second chorus comes back once again. This back and forth is delicious, paired with themes of rebirth and the joy that’s in it, both the quiet moments, and the louder ones too. The song is intentionally and oh so skillfully composed. 



“PIRATE RADIO*” offers a fresh take on what it means to listen to a song that’s almost genreless. There are certainly elements of folk in the very beginning and traces of rap, two genres that aren’t often coupled together, but they work together so well here. Just because labels exist doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be mixed. Jean Dawson brings inspiration from wherever he feels it, and clearly feels a deep connection to multiple genres. It’s the passion, joy, and once again, the vulnerability, that makes his music incredible. It’s also part of the reason why “PIRATE RADIO*” is so addicting to listen to!

Like the waves on a great open ocean, “PIRATE RADIO*”, ebbs and flows beautifully. This style of composition is so fresh and unique, it’s difficult to take the song off repeat!


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