Modern rock music can be extremely hit or miss, with most modern “rock” bands blending their sound with something completely out of left field (dubstep-rock has never grown on me, personally) or being so stuck in their original ways that legacy rock bands are unable to adapt and change their sounds to meet modern standards, and neither approach really allows any of the groups in the mainstream to find a comfortable and happy medium.
Rock music in 2022 feels as unpredictable and lost as it’s ever been, and after being nearly a decade into the folk-rock “renaissance,” there’s seemingly no musical trend on the horizon for rock music. This can be scary, but for up-and-coming acts, this is the time to get in there and create the next wave. For SF’s Chris McCooey, that seems to be the exact plan, as his latest single “Just Like You” reinvents the musical wheel and gives listeners something that they’ve been missing out on for years.
“Just Like You” is a single unlike most you’ll hear, especially with those being released today; it features musical instruments in it, which might come as a shock to some bands as the biggest rock acts in the world right now (Panic! At The Disco, Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons) all focus on sounds generated by computers above guitars. That’s right, McCooey features an entire orchestral string quartet, as well as drums, guitar, and glockenspiel to boot, and the modern rock song has never felt more classic.
It’s a song that feels like a pair of your favorite socks, lived-in and natural but the comfiest fit for any day — McCooey has said about “Just Like You,” “Musically and thematically, the song looks to Roy Orbison as inspiration for its dark, complicated themes around love and relationships and its sweeping, cinematic arrangement that features a string quartet.” There’s a deepened sense of longing and heartbreak paired with a hopeful poignancy that doubles the song up as a well-intentioned, well-made piece of California Americana, and the overall end result of the single is a much-deserved place in the spotlight for fans of McCooey’s work, as well as a fantastic entry point into McCooey’s discography for those just finding out about him.
It’s rare to receive a song so earnest and vulnerable, especially when positioned as a rock track in the song’s composition, but McCooey does the legwork to get “Just Like You” there, bridging the gap between indie darlings Bon Iver and Orville Peck as a new name to watch within the indie-folk sphere. It’s dark, it’s bursting at the seams, and by the end of the song, there’s a definite note of tinged hopefulness that is infectious. “’Cause, all I really want is to know just who you are, ’cause I’ve been wondering all my life if I am just like you.” It’s a song for everyone who has ever wondered about a part of themselves that’s absent or missing, and Chris McCooey pins the whirlwind of emotions that come with such feelings right on the head. “Just Like You” is the lead single off of McCooey’s upcoming album Missing Pieces, due out in late December.