Hero’s Welcome by Brendan Bradley: Review
First-time listeners may find themselves a little perplexed because there are so many possible interpretations of “Hero’s Welcome”. Is it a song, a soundtrack, a parody, or a Broadway play? The answer to all of them is yes. It’s complex because it’s designed to be a piece of a multisensory experience. The single is only the premiere of “Non-Player Character,” Brendan Bradley’s virtual reality and musical theater mashup.
Having said that, while it’s intended to be fully experienced with a VR headset and live audience interaction, the track is a musically immersive, fun, and catchy soundscape throughout. As an opener, it’s like an inviting arm reaching out from the microphone and wrapping around you, gently pulling you into Bradley’s story. The theme seems to be taking place in a video game with characters like the protagonist, monsters, listeners acting as players, and the NPC from his other song, “Reprogramme me.” The beat is heavily infused with electronic-pop, auto-tuned sounds to fit the futuristic, animated theme, which contrasts with Bradley’s expressive, vibrant, and witty vocals. The sounds and the lyrics weave in and out of the human world and the inhuman world until the distinctions between the two become hazy or eventually disappear:
“Now we’re all going to die
No matter what we try
It’s how the game was designed
And we’re all going to die
Obsessed with keeping score
Don’t ask what we’re playing for”
An experimental and sensational attempt, “Hero’s Welcome,” is another serious win for the American artist. Our eager anticipation for the full album’s arrival continues to grow as the release date approaches in September.
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Photo credits: The Museum of Science, Boston
Review by: Lily Thomas