Basil Panagop’s Romeo + Juliet: an emotionally honest bittersweet lo-fi track about love

“Romeo + Juliet” is the latest single from Canadian-born, Glasgow-based artist Basil Panagop. His upcoming album “La La Land” documents various moments of his childhood, with the title referring to […]

Written By John Hennessy

On April 17, 2020
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“Romeo + Juliet” is the latest single from Canadian-born, Glasgow-based artist Basil Panagop. His upcoming album “La La Land” documents various moments of his childhood, with the title referring to a game he used to play with his sister and cousins. The result is an emotionally honest track that packs all the nostalgia and multicoloured texture of the Super 8 music video that accompanies it.

“I’ve still got your name spilling from my mouth”

An emotionally honest track that packs all the nostalgia and multicoloured texture of the Super 8 music video that accompanies it.

Given what we know about the record as a whole, it’s no stretch of the imagination to understand “Romeo + Juliet” to be an exploration of early love. The opening is delivered in a Quasimoto style pitch-shifted vocal over some crackling vinyl sounds. The singer repeats “I’ve still got your name spilling from my mouth” and we get the sense that he’s in the raw stages of heartbreak. The production is big, but the harmony gives it a sweetness that invites us to bask in the melancholy of youth. After a few bars of what seems to be a hook, the beat completely disappears from under us and we hear a “role call” in the familiar pitched vocal, trying to round up some friends to visit a strip club.

There’s a biting humour to all of this as he compares his new found fling to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet

Suddenly we’re dropped into a jazzier, slower and more sinister beat. There’s also a scene change in the lyrics, as the narrator finds himself in the club observing the garçons and filles trying to seduce each other. Like any young man he’s profoundly cynical about the insincerity of it all until he makes eyes with someone himself, at which point he’s very happy to stay. There’s a biting humour to all of this as he compares his new found fling to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Reflecting on the first half of the song we get the sense that the memory of his early heartbreak didn’t just stick with him after the relationship, but also forms the habits and desires of his adult life which are unfortunately less immune to the cynicism and falseness of his environment.

The music is bittersweet with a nice lo-fi feeling that serves the overall narrative

It’s a clever and forward thinking track that seems to be influenced by the likes of Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator. The two opposing sentiments in the song play off each other very nicely, and give it a broader scope than simple nostalgia porn. Co-produced with Jamie Holmes, the music is bittersweet with a nice lo-fi feeling that serves the overall narrative very nicely, with the nonchalant vocals giving a raw and honest entry point that recalls the likes of Mac Miller. It’s nice to hear an independent artist with the ambition and confidence to approach this kind of expression, and the craft and commitment to pull it off. 

Basil Panagop indieRepublik review Rome + Juliet

We’ll be looking forward to the album. If the journey is as consistent and compelling as “Romeo + Juliet”, it will be definitely one for your collection.

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