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Synthwave Single Review: "While the City Sleeps" by Oceanside85 (feat. Octal Drive)

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

 Art work for the single, "While the City Sleeps," by Oceanside85 (feat. Octal Drive)

Art work for the single, "While the City Sleeps," by Oceanside85 (feat. Octal Drive)

Oceanside85’s "While the City Sleeps" opens out into a smooth, gentle flow of synth arps and rippling bass before the classic drums kick in and move the track forward in a smooth, steady tempo. Warmth and depth welled up all around my ears as I listened. There’s a gentle synth melody that drifts through before Oceanside85 starts singing. Her voice is strong, assured and expressive. Her delivery of the lyrics strikes the right mood and the vocal melody is engaging.

The mixture of that glistening, floating synth line, Oceanside85’s emotive vocals and the throb of the beat produces a moving backdrop to the words and helps increase their impact. Octal Drive’s warm, shining synth work glints delicately behind Oceanside85’s singing.

The lyrics that she’s written touch many emotional notes and explore the territory of hopes, dreams and finding someone to whom we can make a special connection in the complexities of life. As she says, “Time is fleeting ‘cause we’re rushing ‘round/Careful not to break, let these feelings out.”

There’s a mixture of sadness and hope intermingled in the lines of the chorus that say, “In the dark, dark corner where the stars don’t shine, I’ll fall asleep and let my dreams come alive/Our sparks meeting in this life/Let’s make this spark a flame/‘Cause when the night is cold, we’ll die for love/While the city sleeps.” I was moved by her expression of that often painful combination of feelings.

In contrast, there’s this uplifting passage, “We need to be/Free to become/What we want/Can’t let that darkness run/Caught it in our hands, now we gotta go/Break out again and show that love we know.”

Ultimately Oceanside85 asks, “Was that real or just a dream like a movie from 1984?” In this life, sometimes it seems as if we we’ve been dreaming until the world’s colder reality wakes us back up again.

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The mixture of musical elements, Oceanside85’s powerful vocals and the emotional content of the lyrics came together to create a track that really hit me hard and touched a chord with me. This is music that made me feel deeply.

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