I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the concept of “$$$ in the Bank (Let Go),” the new single by the fantastic Jason Shand, when it initially slid across my desk to review. To be honest, the title threw my indie and rock sensibilities for a loop, and going into the song I was expecting a pretty typical piece of indie hip-hop. Well, when I tell you I couldn’t have been any further off base from what Shand was going to bring to the table, that’s the honest to God truth. There wasn’t a lick of 808 drums to be heard, not a single bar rapped. The stylization of the title is still a head-scratcher, but more importantly… it’s an eye-catcher. It creates discussion and if it brings ears to the track, that’s the indicator of a great title. Take it from me, “$$$ in the Bank (Let Go)” is a song well worth a listen or ten.

Delivering on sounds established by a variety of Shand’s very own artistic influences, “$$$ in the Bank” gives a great glimpse into what listeners should be able to expect from his upcoming full-length release, cheekily titled The Petty Narcissist. This kind of unashamed self-ridicule penetrates both this single and the album’s first single “I Know,” allowing Shand to call his influence into a critical spotlight while further painting a portrait of more than just a typical tortured artist. There’s just a smidge of meta-humor at play, coming from a musician unafraid to call his latest album something so biting.

There’s a delicate, human touch to Shand’s lyricism that allows plenty of layers to function simultaneously, and the disarming nature of things such as the song’s title or a chorus made up of a single phrase only lean that much more into the inner machinations of this broad and wholly public release cycle. “$$$ in the Bank” functions both as a near-break-up track and a life-affirming depiction of the continued grind mentality that it takes to make it as a musician. The money in the bank might never be literal in both senses unless you keep at it and maintain a fully-stocked case of emotional wealth. Shand complements the heavier segments and areas of the song by offering a louder arrangement, mirroring the emotions. The “(Let Go)” area of the song adds a deeper value to the track and kicks the energy up a notch, which doesn’t even entirely feel necessary until it happens.

There’s a special touch to Jason Shand’s artistry that will keep audiences engaged and guessing for as long as he decides to release pieces of himself through his music. The undeniably talented musings from this impending album give hope that the next full-length piece won’t be so far off, but good things come to those who wait and Jason Shand is eagerly delivering on such promise by bringing a new era of indie rock into view. Whatever the future holds, I know where my ears undoubtedly will be in the fall when The Petty Narcissist is finally out. One can hope that you’ll be there, too!

Garth Thomas