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Memories - Clay Joule (Truwan Studios)

17 October 2022

If previous singles, “Summer Breeze” and “Funky Sphere”, brilliantly showcased Clay Joule’s ability to pen funky and upbeat, joyous and life-affirming singles, “Memories” shows a different side to him. It shows him to be no less in love with life and no less grateful for the things that he has but does so in a more understated and reflective fashion. In short, we have experienced Clay Joule as the fun-loving, life-embracing, happy-go-lucky music maker, now meeting him as the more restrained and subtle troubadour.

“Memories” is a song about counting your blessings, but it is also a whistful song, looking back at love lost but still being grateful for it having happened. It reminds us that we are all the sum of the events and experiences we encounter throughout our lives, and even when such experiences might not turn out as we would like, when perhaps those involved realise that their future lies on separate paths, we are still all the better for the time spent together.

It would be very easy to write a song in such circumstances that were laced with regret or, worse, bitterness, but the fact that Clay Joule can look objectively at the past is the real charm of the song. The ability to find the silver lining, no matter how closely associated with some pain, makes “Memories” work. It is not melancholic, sad or remorseful. It acknowledges that such relationships and our memories of them make us grow, mature, and evolve. They are what make us fully-rounded humans. And, of course, after the rain, there is always sunshine, the brightness of one is generally enhanced by the experience of the other. Such a positive outlook is the hallmark of Clay Joule’s music.

Musically, it takes the form of the classic soul ballad, but one brought up to date. And it is this balancing of familiar musical traditions and more contemporary approaches that mark it out as anything other than more of the same. There is a lovely slow burn that takes place as the song progresses, one that builds it up so that it passes out of the soul-pop territory through which it takes its first steps and, through the use of deft guitar work and a building beat and energy, into more seductive yet understated rock territory.

We are used to Clay Joule playing with upbeat pop-rock vibes, laying down grooves, euphoric energy, and vitality. It is what he does. But, as we now know, it is not only what he does. “Memories” shows us that he is just as adept at the subtle and the soulful, the controlled and the concise, the deft and the delicate. It just makes you wonder what he will turn his hand to next.