The subject for Day 17 of my 30 Day Song Challenge is “A song released this year“. This was another tough one, as there are literally thousands of songs to choose from. To help narrow my list of possible choices a bit, I decided to choose a song I like by an artist or band who follows me on Twitter, and who I’ve not yet written about in 2022. And the very first act that popped into my head is L.A.-based trio The Rare Occasions, and their terrific new single “Seasick“. I love their music, a glorious cornucopia of colorful melodies, sparkling arrangements, exuberant instrumentals, compelling lyrics and endearing vocals. With songs that are immediately memorable and delightfully addictive, it’s not surprising they’ve earned a massive following, with over 5.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
I first wrote about them in September 2020 when I reviewed their fantastic single “Alone”, so I won’t repeat a lot of background information about them that can be found in that article. But to summarize, with origins in New England, and based in Los Angeles since 2017, The Rare Occasions now consists of three very personable and talented guys: Brian McLaughlin on lead vocals and guitar, Jeremy Cohen on bass, and Luke Imbusch on drums. They’ve been putting out great music since the release of their debut EP Applefork in 2013, and last summer (of 2021), they released their outstanding second album Big Whoop. When I wrote about them two years ago, their song “Notion” had garnered approximately 1.7 million streams on Spotify. But after the song went viral on TikTok late last year, it’s now racked up more than 237 million streams! With their explosion in popularity, nine of their other songs have earned between 1-9 million streams.
Their latest single “Seasick” is a fun romp, with a bouncy, lighthearted groove set to Jeremy’s galloping rhythm, and highlighted by Luke’s thumping drumbeats and Brian’s exuberant surf guitars. Brian’s plaintive vocals are wonderful too, rising to electrifying wails in the lively choruses. The lyrics, which feature lots of nautical metaphors, speak to struggling with fears and insecurities that hold us back, preventing us from moving forward in life, living our truths and reaching our goals: “I can’t keep pushing back the plans I got, impersonating something that I’m not. / We get caught up in the little things, displaced from what we know. Though I’m not too fond of traveling, there’s a long long wake behind me.“
The animated lyric video, with sweet artwork by Rhea Hanlon of Lost Lines Studio, and animation by Arianna Soto & Mamasoto Design & Media, shows the band floating in the sea on a small inflatable raft.