Jocelyn Music Review

Jude Sweeney, Staff Writer

Jocelyn’s record label BMG describes her new song “Speak Up” as influenced by Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran, among other names. This is a fair comparison to make: the song is the same sort of commercial, feel-good pop song that those two artists have been releasing for years now.

As the track starts with a guitar lick that is monotonously repeated throughout the entire song, the message almost gives itself away; the song is going to be another in a long list of uninspired songs with nothing to really say. After this, the bass and the drums come in to provide the song with a beat that really kicks in under the chorus, where Jocelyn sings “[she’ll] speak up cuz it’s her life.”

Now, an anti-bullying message is a good one to provide when you have any sort of platform, but Jocelyn’s words here feel disingenuous. While she does say that this song was written based on a personal experience that she faced, her contention that “‘Speak Up’ is about turning negativity into positive energy instead of letting the bullies drag you down” sounds like something that was forced out of a machine.

Now, that is not to say that there are no redeeming qualities to this song. Jocelyn’s voice is impressive at points and surprisingly some of the uses of an echo are not only decent, they actually enhance the song. And also of course for a song of this nature, the chorus is pretty dang catchy and is bound to get stuck in your head.

The song altogether is repetitive and feels like it’s being unfair to the audience in forcing them to listen to the guitar and bass repeat the same 5 or so notes the entire song. The message of the song comes off as not only disingenuous, but dangerous. To convince anyone, especially the young people this song asks to just “speak up,” as though that will fix their problems, makes it seem like the song was written by someone severely out of touch.

Though that might not have been Jocelyn making that decision and instead her co-writer and producer, Denny White, the song wants to be more important than it is, like an anthem around which anti-bullying crews throughout the country will rally around. Instead, it falls short of even being an interesting and “inspiring” pop song, even as commercialized as it is.