Bree Jaxson’s new single “Way Back’ follows her string of recent successful singles with a perfect summer track. It isn’t the typical empty-headed sunny fun, however. Jaxson’s perspective and songwriting chops are wide encompassing enough to entertain and yet say something meaningful about our lives. The song’s retrospective point of view isn’t mired in melancholy, as so many songs of this type are, but it has a celebratory tone instead. It revels in memory rather than looking back with sadness.

The energetic vocal, especially during the chorus, and the song’s overall hard-driving tilt underline those qualities. “Way Back” has straight-forward drums, and the song’s guitar has the same focus for the most part. Jaxson wisely spikes the song with several lead guitar flourishes. Her singing is the undisputed highlight of the cut, but the song doesn’t prioritize her voice over any other element.

It may bear her name alone, but “Way Back” comes across as a full-band offering. The transformative aspect of her talent comes into play, the same way certain actors or actresses command viewers’ attention when they come onscreen. She sparks with intangible charisma that lights up the song upon her entrance, and you fixate on her voice throughout. Her involvement with each syllable is clear, and her attentiveness to the musical accompaniment stands out as well.

The lyric turns on some of the tropes you might expect, but one of its distinguishing strengths is its significant details. They are specific to her, without question, yet they are universal enough that they’ll resonate with her target audience. It’s an accomplishment by any measure, but more so one for a 10-year Air Force servicewoman with Afghanistan combat experience and currently serving in an administrative position within the Air Force’s Cyber Command. Don’t let her stunning physical beauty play into stereotypes – this is a smart adult woman.

The Baltimore, Maryland-bred singer/songwriter is an equally smart songwriter. “Way Back” is a rollicking good time, and it’ll fire up any crowd, but it’s also the latest example of how Bree Jaxson’s songwriting talents make her a budding force to be reckoned with within the indie music world. It’s been some time for me since I’ve heard a pop-minded song like this with such effective use of guitar.

Her voice is what I keep coming back to. There is a childlike sensitivity in her voice as well, like someone alive to every possible experience life can offer her, and it makes for a pleasing combination alongside the song’s intelligent writing. There’s no question in my mind that Jaxson is a superb interpreter of her songwriting, capable of drawing listeners into the experiences it attempts to portray.

She has built an impressive discography in a short amount of time. Her debut single “Kryptonite” demonstrated her individualistic songwriting voice, and it’s only grown from there. The same personal, unique twists and turns I’ve heard in her previous releases are present in this single as well, and I expect the remainder of her soon-to-drop first EP to connect on a similar level with listeners. I know I’ll be looking forward to it.

Garth Thomas