Photo Credit: Dayglow © Dana Trippe
Springy, bouncy, and spongy. The 23-year-old from Texas spreads joy on his third album – but not much more. Another day, another TikTok sensation. That’s how the music business works in 2022. Sloan Struble, professionally known as Dayglow, had his break in 2018 with the Gold-certified “Can I Call You Tonight?” And it didn’t take long until his debut album Fuzzybrain was released to ride its wave of commercial success.
Four years later, album number three is here – People in Motion – and it’s very recognizable. The lack of a chart-topping hit single will do nothing to stop Dayglow’s ascending commercial status, and although the title might sound suspiciously similar to an exercise cassette released by your local gym in the early ‘90s, Sloan Struble’s new album is a product very much of its time. Dayglow – which also consists of performing members bassist Peyton Harrington, drummer Brady Knippa, keyboardist Norrie Swofford, and guitarist Colin Crawford – sounds very similar to the same polished, formal, nice-guy pop of pop-rock bands like WALK THE MOON, Twenty One Pilots, and 5 Seconds of Summer.
And yes, it would surely be enough if the opening track “Second Nature” would be shortened to four minutes instead of three minutes. Likewise, the piano lick in the lead single “Then It All Goes Away” is definitely a little too similar to Vampire Weekend’s “Harmony Hall.” And one could easily question his writing abilities when he’s using lines as innovative (*irony alert*) as “I don’t need too much // just a stereo // and some rock and roll on a real guitar.” Well, you obviously made it to a studio, so where’s the rock and roll, then?
It gets even worse later in that same song, “Radio,” as a confused Sloan offers a half-hearted attempt to tackle the big questions. “I started talking to myself about who we are // I mean, we’re all just people // People in motion,” he sings, before concluding; “The world keeps spinning forever on // out of my control.” Gravitation might be out of your control, Dayglow, but I’m not sure if this is really what those big questions are all about.
I know. It’s always easy to scoff at a light-hearted, harmless, and bubbly album like this. The funky little hook in “How Do You Know?” is every bit as original as the boy band one-hit wonders of the ’80s it’s stolen from. But I can’t deny that it pulls me in. In the same way, I can’t deny just how easy it is to imagine a group of teenagers screaming along to the sweeping choruses in “Like She Does.” “Of all the life that I have, I want to be with you // I feel it like pouring rain // There’s nothing else that I’d rather be than in love with you every day.” Too cheesy for you? Understandable, really, but the exit sign is right there.