RECORD REVIEW: Drew Beskin — Problematic for the People

Athens singer/songwriter Drew Beksin’s upcoming third full-length solo album, Problematic for the People, feels like it just fell out of an episode of American Bandstand. Visualize a gaggle of girls in front of the stage swooning over the lead singer and you get the vibe of this pop masterpiece.

Having been on the scene for over a decade now, both as a solo artist and as frontman for The District Attorneys, Party Dolls, and PURSES, Beskin’s first single off the album, “The Cut of My Jib,” completely imbibes that Motown feel, bringing us back to the day when music was as much entertainment as it was entertaining.

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Originally conceived to be his last album, a plan that was thankfully scrapped, Problematic for the People is drenched in lo-fi gems like “More Bad Days than Good.”

“I am happy that I approached Problematic for the People as my last album. I think a lot of decisions and extra care might not have happened if I treated it like another batch of songs,” says Beskin. Extra care like throwing a synthy ’80s twist on the song “Going Alright for You.” This radio-friendly track is loaded with catchy hooks and happiness. The video for the song is part one of a two-part series and features producer Drew Vandenberg hosting a fictitious late-night show along with some of Beskin’s friends.

“Personal Shopper” and “Double Dipper” ring in a Yacht Rock feel akin to early Beach Boys, full of put-the-top-down-and-drive-along-the-coast open air reverb.

“Swimming in Bed” is a song Beskin had been trying to write for quite some time now. “It started with the ‘do what I do’ line and that basically plagued me for a few months until I sat down and finished the song. I had the title ‘Swimming in Bed’ in my notes for a few years. I always loved that title but had to wait for the right moment and song to come along to use it. I am very proud of this one, particularly the middle/bridge section. I love cramming as many hooks as I can get away with in one tune.” And crammed with hooks it is.

The whole record is soaked in that retro-lo-fi sound, yet at the same time is lush in guitar tones and harmonies. From the Weezer-ish “I’m Not Human” to the sparser singer/songwriter vibe of songs like “Genuine Article” and “Cul de Sac,” Beskin once again hits it out of the park when it comes to perceptive and evocative lyrics married with colorful music. I wouldn’t go as far as to say he is the king of the catchy chorus, but he comes damn close.

The album was produced/engineered by Drew Vandenberg (Faye Webster, Deerhunter) at Chase Park Transductions and by Matt Martin (of Wanderwild, COIN) at Gift Horse Studios — both located in Athens and features the talents of Phillip Brantley (Terminally Phil, Palace Doctor & Modern Skirts) on bass, Josh Parsons on guitar, and Jeremy Wheatley (of Sailors & Ships and Crooked Fingers) on drums.

Follow on Instagram @drewbeskin

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