Embracive and rich with vitality in one breath, suffocating and inescapable in another, the guitar parts in Dino Jag’s “Shake a Leg Like Elvis” are as close to a nucleus as a composition can contain, and alongside some oaky vocals and melancholic percussive pulsations, he creates a track that is hard to put down once it’s been picked up for the first time. Dino Jag is pulling out all the stops to give us a sample of what he can do when there’s nothing to stop his creativity from going in any and every direction in “Shake a Leg Like Elvis,” and it’s getting the attention of critics around the country this season (myself included).
The rhythm in this track is infectious from the get-go and makes use of a terrifically jagged new wave beat. There’s a puckishness to the distribution of the string melody at first, but by the time we get into the chorus, “Shake a Leg Like Elvis” begins to sound like the adult contemporary hit it was always meant to be. The influences Dino Jag has are eclectic, but he isn’t clashing together here at all – if anything, he’s making this pairing of different aesthetics sound all the more perfect for the eccentrically melodic times we’re living in.
In my first sit-down with “Shake a Leg Like Elvis,” I couldn’t help but notice just how dark the harmony in the chorus is, mostly because of the violent interplay with the strings that leads us into its trademark hook. Out of nowhere, the song swallows us up whole and reduces its rhythm to a chugging stomp, as if to declare victory over a fallen foe before taking a victory lap around his mangled body. Some might see it as sonic overkill, but for what I look for in an experimental pop song, this is about as well-thought-out a track as I could have asked for.
The vocals could have used a little more volume towards the end of the song, but I can understand why Dino Jag decided to go with a more stripped-down look on this front instead. In keeping the instrumentation at just a notch above the verses, we’re never allowed to get lost in the dreamlike cadence of the words, or the narrative he’s so bluntly sharing with us. This is a multidimensional single, and if Dino Jag had it his way, I think he’d have all of us take in each element within “Shake a Leg Like Elvis” one gilded fragment at a time.
This player might not be the most radio-ready that I’ve listened to in the year 2020, but I would be straight-up lying if I said that he wasn’t making some beautifully incredible music worth writing home about in “Shake a Leg Like Elvis.” Dino Jag would be wise to try and experiment with his surreal side more than he did in his first few recordings early on because, in songs like this one, he flirts with an R&B edge that could potentially change things for adult contemporary music in a big way. He has got an interesting future ahead, and I’ll be staying tuned for sure.
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