The Proclaimers–On My Way

The 1980s saw plenty of Scottish bands pushing the boundaries of rock and innovating new sounds.  The Proclaimers, by comparison, could be considered shocking for their backwards looking aesthetic and traditional songwriting styling.  But what they were doing wasn’t easy.  Sunshine on Leith sees the band seamlessly blending country, folk and even blues with an unassailable pop exuberance.  Songs like On My Way proved that there was plenty of room for traditional techniques in the new landscape of popular music.  Beginning with a swinging honky-tonk jangle, twins Craig and Charlie Reid open with a pseudo-chorus to set up a folky repeating structure within the song.  It’s the type of playful move that defines everything about the track, standing firmly on the shoulders of a certain era of songwriters while providing winking updates.  They even maximize the sportive tone by breaking from their synchronized singing for the occasional series of call and response uh-huhs.  The whole thing ends up soundly a bit like a love letter to Roger Miller (who the band would cover).  Like so much of The Proclaimers’ work, it’s deceptively simple, finely crafted and heartwarmingly upbeat.  It’s an infectious, joyous, sunny day of a song from an era in which that was becoming increasingly rare.

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