“Tug Of War” by Joe Bermudez and Dana McKeon

Though not as attractive as the heavier instrumental parts in the song are, the synthetic shards of melodicism that comes skating through the backdrop of Joe Bermudez and Dana McKeon’s “Tug Of War” is an irreplaceable cornerstone of the track’s harmony. As integral to the development of the hook as any of the other components of the composition are, the synth element in this single serves to create balance and warmth behind a glowing collaboration between Bermudez and songstress Dana McKeon.  McKeon holds her own with the highly-praised indie musician and frequent collaborator, which in itself is something worth applauding (particularly if you’ve heard his past releases alongside other gifted singers). 

Instrumentation aside, “Tug Of War” feels like a lyrical masterpiece designed specifically with the intention of highlighting McKeon’s poetic side. She’s definitely not holding anything back from us with the verses here, and although there’s a familiar pattern to the flow of the lyrics in this single, it doesn’t sound watered-down or generic in the least. I’d normally say Bermudez has no space in his artistic identity for anyone else’s ideals; truth be told, I think he’s got enough of his own story to share, but that’s not nearly as evident when listening to this latest studio cut. 

Joe Bermudez always owns the spotlight whenever he steps into the recording space to make a new track, but in the case of “Tug Of War,” he shares center stage with Dana McKeon quite democratically. He’s the main object of audiences’ affection here, no questions asked, but with that said,  McKeon is what gives his performance an added layer of authenticity that wouldn’t have been present were she not in the mix. She’s got a heck of a future ahead of her on her own, but in the company of this songwriter, we get a great idea as to what she can accomplish overall. I just got back into the music of Joe Bermudez recently, and the primary reason why is “Tug Of War.”

Listening to this track and its intriguing music video made me want to go back through his entire discography just with the intention of reliving some of its most powerful moments all over again, while also getting excited about what the future might hold for Bermudez. He and McKeon are a match made in heaven, and I’m rooting to hear them record something together once more before the year 2022 has come to a conclusion. 

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