I might as well start with a confession. In my view Past Midnight by Jamie Hamilton is the best song I have heard so far while moderating for Fresh On The Net. Submitted for moderation almost eight months ago, it’s lyrically beautiful for one, but it also has a production that I can picture Brian Eno being pleased with; a mixture of simple acoustic elegance and a pad.
The song also is, for me, the point of Fresh On The Net. We are a step back for the people who haven’t touched a major label yet. As Hamilton says: “Like all my songs now, it was recorded and mastered in my bedroom with a pretty basic setup. I never feel like I capture the same feeling when I record in a studio, I enjoy the freedom to adjust things quickly if they aren’t working.”
My favourite part of the song is the lyric, “When we first met we were drunk and shallow, and you’re the only one who’s changed”. It has a sense of humour about a breakup of a relationship, as Hamilton says, “I always try to make the emotional content of the lyrics a bit more complex than just writing a sad song or a love song, because life is rarely as straight forward as pop songs have a tendency to make out.”
“The whole song stemmed for the guitar line that runs through most of the song and the lyrics/melody of ‘I never dance until it’s way past midnight, like Cinderella in reverse.’ I liked the imagery and the self-awareness in somebody acknowledging that they didn’t put the work in before it was too late. From there, the rest of the lyrics came quite easily.”
From the 1.30 mark the song turns into what I call “the Brian Eno bit”; the simple synths used so beautifully remind me of Paul Simon‘s album Surprise.
For me it sums up what the point of Fresh On The Net is, it’s about promoting someone who didn’t record the album in a large studio, who didn’t have a PR team but did have talent and submitted it for us to review and enjoy. There is however only one way to find out if I am right and that is to have a listen yourself. If you really like it you can buy it with its B-side Emily, Settling.