“Cruise Control” by Sky Olson sounds like the love child of John Mayer and Charlie Puth. It employs Puth’s clean, driving, effortless pop production and Mayer’s smooth vocal and guitar stylings. It’s a feel-good track, to say the least. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to engage in the casual, jovial groove, making the title quite emblematic of the feel.
The song begins with a brisk synth, quickly overtaken by a tom fill and a crisp, soulful guitar lick. Sky’s voice flows into the mix with an easy, warm tone– “The summer air kinda feels just right.” The lyrics and music conspire to create this breezy, relaxed, idle atmosphere. The pre-chorus comes along and the phrases get shorter and more pronounced. The guitar mimics the rhythm of the vocals, subtly signalling the arrival of the hook. Sky croons, “I’m on cruise control / Asleep at the wheel / I might lose control.” The vocals are suddenly enveloped by layers of doubles, octaves, and harmonies. The intimacy of the verses is replaced with something a little more anthemic. With that said, the chorus satisfies the trajectory of the song with great effectiveness.
And just like every good pop song, a bridge pops up right after the second chorus. Here, the instrumentation drops to just guitar and bass. The bass stays rather stagnant as the guitar toggles between two plucky notes. The chords to this section are certainly darker as well, exploring minor keys and non-diatonic notes. It’s a welcome change, drawing the listener in before one last, bombastic chorus.
Be sure to give Sky Olson a listen! “Cruise Control” is the perfect song for a drive on a sunny day. It’ll leave you feeling refreshed, carefree, and musically gratified.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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