For fans of Green Day, Queens of the Stone age and a healthy serving of straight up, loose and fun rock & roll, Light Years Away, the new album from singer-songwriter Paul Maged is a must listen. When you listen to Light Years Away, you cannot deny Maged’s superior knack for writing catchy, driving rock anthems. For those familiar with his work, this comes as no surprise. The song “Image” from his previous album, Diamonds & Demons landed him a spot as a finalist in alternative rock category in the 2014 Great American Songwriting Contest.
There comes a time when listening to Light Years Away that you’re so entranced in the melodies, so in synch with the rhythm section that it’s less of a listening experience and more of a full body one. Through the album’s seven tracks, there’s hardly a dull moment; in fact, you’re left wishing there was more. The title track encapsulates what Paul Maged does best: Rock!
The song’s opening guitar riff brings you back to the days of Weezer’s Blue Album. The guitars crunch and sustain without sacrificing any of the high end. Every note of every chord counts- no note left behind. The verse melody shines and soars. The backbeat of the song bounces, playfully keeping the warm guitars pulsating just enough to keep your head nodding. The use of doubled-vocals enriches the already strong melody, demanding you to sing along. Maged mentions the “push and pull of gravity” in the songs chorus but is the execution of the push and pull of the song’s dynamics that really make it pop.
The album’s standout track is the opener, “PC Police.” The track is a great throwback to Clash-era rock with an almost modern Jello Biafra style, rapid fire delivery. “The PC Police are Coming After Me.” In today’s day and age, can you think of a better, tongue-in-cheek lyrical reference. With the manic vocals and edgy, 90’s alternative rock arrangement, Maged struck gold on this one. It’s the kind of melody that the film Inception based its basis on. It gets in your head. It grows. And grows. Until you can’t get rid of it. When you combine that with our world today, you have all the makings of a hit on your hands. This is a song that deserves to be spun on alternative rock stations. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It just spins the wheel in a new, modern direction.
Light Years Away recognizes its influences and does them justice without merely ripping them off. Rock music is at its best when it’s fun. Everything doesn’t need contain grandiose themes and overarching narratives to leave their mark. Sometimes you just want good, solid, fun rock & roll. Bombastic drums, loud guitars and melodies you wish you were clever enough to craft. That’s what you get here!
Paul Maged is based in New York City. Sean Gil of The Passengerz handled the production on Light Years Away. You can check him out on social media, Youtube, Soundcloud and his website.