I’ve never been all that much of an alternative country fan, but it didn’t take much more than a cursory listen of Jeremy Parsons’ brand new single “Tickin’” to convince me that there’s something different about what’s transpiring in Nashville right now in 2022. “Tickin’” has a swelling dark melody that matches up perfectly with an introspective moment on the part of the listener, but that’s not the main reason why it’s got such a firm grasp on my attention right now. Jeremy Parsons gives up an engaging musicality in his latest studio work, but the real treasure to behold in this track is its crown jewel-vocal, which I think is one of the most haunting he’s given thus far.
The words that come cascading through the air in “Tickin’” feel more like excerpts from a bar stool therapy session than they do commonplace pop fodder, and I think that it’s worth pointing out that there is never an instance where it feels like Parsons is placating us with a tired premise about aging or developing the general sense of mortality that comes with getting older. He’s got a very organic style of prose here, and I think that if he were to take the same formulaic approach to an acoustic song, he would probably come up with even more hypnotic harmonies than he does in this situation (which is saying a lot when we strip the song down to its nuts and bolts). These lyrics are the real article, and they connect us with a sense of self that’s rare in pop these days.
I love the scooped equalization of the instruments in this single. Though it’s more associated with heavy metal music, when you eliminate that pesky midrange noise from the tonality of the fleeting electric six-string, you come up with an earthquake-inducing riptide of rhythm that is only equaled by the lush vocal of Jeremy Parsons himself. “Tickin’” is a ghostly piece in moments, and along with all of the machismo of its melodies comes an emotional narrative that is accessible to anyone who has ever taken a second to stop and look back at the path that led them to this very moment in time. It would be awesome if there were more country songs as multidimensional and effective as this one is, but at the same time, I think that’s precisely why this crossover shines as brightly as it does.
It isn’t very often that someone gets the kind of buzz that Jeremy Parsons is getting right now, but in that same breath, it can be said that an artist like Parsons doesn’t show up on our collective radar very frequently, either. He exhibits capabilities of an uncommon variety in this single, and for what “Tickin’” lacks in sugarcoating, it more than makes up for in uncaged vivaciousness, sonic exuberance, and effervescent grooves that were tailor-made for those long autumn nights spent in contemplation. The bottom line? You’d better believe I’ll be keeping a close eye on this young man moving forward.