Friday, December 17, 2021

Javi Jimenez Tackles Love in High School With 'HSL'

Costa Rican singer songwriter Javi Jimenez has been carving out a space in the pop and electro-pop milieu since the release of his debut single 'Haunt Me'. Clearly cribbing heavily from The 1975 , his next two follow up singles would see him stretching his musical legs into both straight forward pop by way of 'Little Miss Sunshine' and a stripped back acoustic ballad with 'Octubre'. 

Jimenez's most recent outing in comparison feels like the much needed synthesising of his musical inspirations; marrying the plodding poise of a Tears for Fears ballad with the pop-confessional singer songwriter-ism of Halsey.

'HSL' is a beautiful coming of age track. Utilising the relatively familiar format of meeting a girl, going to a party, and late nights drives as springboard, Javi depicts hyper specific, awkward and affirming adolescent experiences that inform many people's initial sense of self. This is most exemplified plainly in the opening lyric,"Throwback to highschool love / Emoticons and dreaming of trying out some harmless drugs / Travelling and growing up"

Musically, the track kicks of with a wobbly synth over a simple sequenced beat and clean guitar riff, picking up with live drums and some distortion during the chorus: "You were green and I was yellow / Holding onto something beautiful / City lights feel so much better, under the stars when we're together." The main highlights of the track's instrumentation include an ever present warm synth melody and piano accents. After the second chorus there is a muted bridge section that builds up to the final chorus before the song ends.

'HSL' executes its premise interestingly and succinctly, relying on slight variants in musical arrangement to keep the track and engaging. Each lyric is clear and vivid in its storytelling, creating a clean and accessible mosaic of falling in love in high school. All together 'HSL' is an arrestingly gorgeous track.

Kenneth Butcher


Image: 'HSL' Official Single Cover

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