Alfred Hitchcock famously explained the difference between a suspense movie and an action movie is whether the bomb you see under the table goes off. If it doesn’t, you are in a suspense movie; if it does, it’s an action movie. In a musical context, Mike Kennedy does both in his latest single, Mercy.
As the song creeps, slithers and slow-burns through the introduction, it builds atmosphere and anticipation, adding sonic weight, tone, and texture. (Suspense.) And then, after about a minute, it explodes in your face. (Action)
And from there, it wanders between the two styles, never quite able to go back to the building tension of its opening act, never quite able to repeat the intensity of that initial explosion, but benefiting from being an excellent hybrid of the two.
The other great thing about Mercy is it can have a foot in more than one style. It ticks boxes as a singer-songwriter, has a punk belligerence root to its core, and has some pop sensibility. It is a rock song, bounces with pop-punk swagger and will appeal to indie kids and musical outsiders alike. I’m saying that musically speaking, if Mike Kennedy grew an extra-musical leg, he would be a sonic octopus! Impressive!
In a world where genres don’t concern the average pop-picker anymore, the obvious thing to do is either ignore them or appeal to as many as possible through your music. Mike Kennedy does the latter…and then some!