Musician’s original song sums up emotional perspective
Mask wearing, double-masks, social distancing, vaccinations and travel bans are only the tip of the ongoing pandemic iceberg. Throw in the mutating COVID virus strains and add a surge of widespread political turbulence; the headlines continue to appear overwhelming. Yet for many, life was already hard before the epidemic ever materialized. Besides holding out promise for a better tomorrow, the next best choice is to check out “Life Has Got To Get Better” from Phillip Jarrell.
Recommended until further notice
The main tracks for “Life Has To Get Better” were recorded well before COVID arrived, yet Jarrell does not mince words. A bit dystopian, maybe, but reality lies in the eye and the mind of the beholder. In some places, the current news points to growing subway violence, housing issues, increasing health costs and more, so Jarrell’s point of view seems pretty accurate. Geared with a Manhattan edginess, the words and music, by Jarrell, are direct and unmistakable, especially in the lines, “I think that life has got to get better/Oh Lord it just can’t get no worse.” The song’s narrative clearly achieves its messaging. Yet the music offers a satiating effect by connecting the dots to optimism.
The YouTube video for “Life Has Got To Get Better,” which premiered Jan. 4, 2021, matches the concept behind the music to a tee. Professional, polished and magnificently edited, the imagery can be harsh. At the beginning, teens in an isolated stairwell, blood and a cadaver’s toe tag lets viewers know Jarrell does not pull any punches.
With fiery, hellish colors going off in the back, the singer soon becomes the focal point before the video moves on to other vignettes. With a hood pulled overhead, wearing a turtleneck and half finger gloves, the multi-talented Jarrell’s presence renders the 4:11 video complete.
In one word, the music, performance and production for “Life Has Got To Get Better” is superb. The vocals are terrific. Pay attention because Philip Jarrell and the band are flawlessly subtle in every respect.
The song “Life Has Got To Get Better” features Phillip Jarrell – vocals, guitar; Larry Byron (Steppin’ Wolf) – lead guitar, slide guitar; Clayton Ivy – keyboard; Bob Wray – bass guitar; Roger Clark – drums; Tom Rowdy – percussion; horns arranged by Howard Johnson; horns – Howard Johnsons’ SNL Horn Section.
Words, music and producer – Phillip Jarrell; basic tracks recorded at Wishbone Studio, Muscle Shoals Ala. 1978 – Engineers: Steve Moore, Leslie King; horns recorded at Media Sound, New York City; original mix at Long View Farm, North Brookfield, Mass. – engineers: Gil Markle, Jesse Henderson, John Holdbrook; final re-mix at T.O.N.T.O Studio, Santa Monica, Ca. – engineers: Malcom Cecil, Len Peterzell; mastered at A&M Studios, Hollywood, Ca. – engineer: Bernie Grundman; remastered 2020.
About the artist
Phillip Jarrell, an award-winning singer-songwriter, co-wrote the number one Billboard hit “Torn Between Two Lovers,” with Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. Jarrell subsequently signed with Motown Records, becoming one of the few white recording artists for the label. With a finger on the pulse of the current music scene, Phillip is also a co-founder of Jarrell Guitars.
Paul Wolfle, the publisher of musicinterviewmagazine.com, is a web-based journalist who has written for several popular sites. Paul has a passion for connecting with a diversity of musicians who are looking to grow a positive presence on the World Wide Web.