Sharp and yet unintimidating, sterling but wholly accessible; the lead vocal in Barry Muir’s “Home In A New York Minute” has got to be one of the smartest of the new indie pop I’ve heard in 2023. Muir is no newcomer to his scene, and in his new single, he doesn’t act like a wide-eyed latest in need of some guidance into adulthood.
At only two and a half minutes in total length, “Home In A New York Minute” is short and sweet (arguably the best design that a new singer/songwriter can take on), but not without a certain demand on its performer. This is our official introduction to Muir’s latest cut, and it’s rightly winning him a lot of praise this month.
Aside from his singing, the grooves this pop star in the making utilizes in “Home In A New York Minute” create some wonderful tension for him to dispel with his verses. He never misses an opportunity to pounce on the hook with as much enthusiasm as he can muster, and even in the moments when he refrains from the raw poetic assault, he never sounds as though he’s running out of gas. Some musicians require a big boost from behind the glass when making a track as ambitiously crafted as this one, but for people like Barry Muir, the whole process is like an act of nature.
There’s an uncut feel to this mix, but it’s very necessary to fill out the sense of depth that each instrument is boasting here. I would have put just a little more pressure on the bassline if for no other reason than to magnify all of the intensity that the percussion is producing, but other than that, there’s not much I would change about the layout in this single at all. Muir knows what he’s doing, and if he doesn’t, he’s putting on a clinic on how to fake it better than anyone in the game.
Lyrics aren’t as big a point of emotional conveyance in “Home In A New York Minute” as the tone in which they’re communicated to us, which leads me to believe that Muir has taken a lot of influence from the classic pop sounds of midcentury vocal music. Don’t let his super-smooth finish fool you in this single; this is a guy who grew up on the rustic standards as much as he did R&B. He’s putting them all together in this song, and sounding rather brilliant in the process.
Complex and intriguing in every department I care about, I think that “Home In A New York Minute” isn’t going to be the last hit we hear from Barry Muir as he continues on his incredible professional odyssey. There’s a magic to this track that makes me believe in the power a full-length album would carry for this young man, and hopefully, we’ll have a chance to hear something along those lines before 2024 rolls into place. Muir is an affectionately poetic pop singer who has a different approach to songwriting than I’m used to, but that could well be what makes me like his work so much.