Review : Saint Petersburg – YOU

The new Saint Petersburg track ‘YOU’ reminds me of value brand items in the supermarket. Do not mistake my words, I fucking love Waitrose Essential’s tomato soup. I’d much rather buy that than the faux-gourmet roast tomato and basil deluxe for 250% of the price from Tesco. But what’s my point? Alright. Well. I can’t possibly say anything about this track that you won’t yourself instantly understand from listening to it. Just like when you put the soup in your basket you know exactly what it’ll taste like when you get home and stick in on the hob. I demand anyone reading this to close the tab and listen to it yourself, because you might like it, and you might choose to support the band. My following stream of consciousness may put you off the band, and that is not my intention, but it is a potential consequence. Yes, this is my preface of “it’s just my opinion, duuuuude!” So there we are.

The track is incredibly basic in composition, it has very few creative ideas if any, instead consisting of very bland guitar parts and a vocal performance which pretty much every boy-band with guitars are capable of. The track is competent, but it’s just not very interesting. There is nothing that stands out, there are no ideas. Like Waitrose Essential’s tomato soup, it exists only because there are people out there willing to pay for it. In my eyes, ‘YOU’ is no different. There exists a list of sonic ingredients that current pop-rock fans find very tasty, and Saint Petersburg have checked each ingredient off their list and cooked up a four-minute track which will be bought and enjoyed.

The lyrics fail to resonate with me in any meaningful way because they are messages and quips we’ve heard a million times before. They are generic and provide no stimulation beyond the auditory. It’s like having lyrics just for the sake of having lyrics. The instrumentation harkens to mid-2000s arena rock bands like Biffy Clyro, Kings of Leon etc. etc. you already know all of the musical references I could include because fans of this band already listen to every influence they have under their sleeve. There are no surprises. You know exactly what you’re going to get when you hit play.

In a round-about way, I don’t get it. I do not understand why this band exists. Of course, you don’t need to put out a 15-minute experimental, genre-pushing jam out with every release, nor do I think that any track is void of its derivative influences, but Saint Petersburg feel like a band who are semi-competent musicians simply trying to cash in on a popular and generic sound. They want to be rock stars, and this is how they’re going to do it. There is not a single ounce of identity on this track. Nothing which screams “this is Saint Petersburg!”. All it screams is that we have yet another quasi-fashionable group of Lads pumping out the same stuff that’s been pumped out since 2002.

Fans of this music evidently do exist, so I am evidently in some kind of “wrong”, like a grumpy past his sell by date Grandad who can no longer resonate with what’s hip with the yoof. But there is no real passion in this music as the processed and formulaic production and song-writing stamp out any feelings the band could possibly be trying to get across. If a fan of this band could politely tell me what it is about this that gets them off, I’d love to read it. Perhaps I take music way too seriously and expect too much from bands who simply just want to write some easy tunes? Who knows. The discourse is open… take the floor.

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