Jean Castel – Playground [PREMIERE]

It’s no secret that music is a powerful art form. While one track leaves one skipping across a field of endorphins and rainbows, others can halt time, evoking deep feelings that mist the eyes and pierce the heart. Whether those who compose music are secret emotion-provoking wizards or perhaps just know that right sonic concoction to spark the cerebrum (the part of the brain that interprets music and connects it to our memories and emotions), I’m sure we can all agree that the process of creating and consuming music is a mystical and scientific game of feels and recollections.

French-born and Los Angeles-based songwriter and artist, Jean Castel is well acquainted with the sentimental properties of music and how to manipulate them to achieve, for lack of a better phrase, that perfect vibe. Thus his most recent single “Playground” (July 21) builds on these innate properties, serving as an escape for both Castel and his listeners. In his own words,

“The inspiration for the song came to me as I was leaving a really dark place in my life. I was tired of writing sad songs, I finally wanted to have fun with music again and write something softer and refreshing to me. I first found the chords and those sounded quite sexy and sensual, so I decided to write it about an intimate moment I shared with someone I was seeing a long time ago. I still wanted it to be meaningful so I just had to close my eyes, re-live that moment and write it all down.”

Castel first embarked on his love affair with music at the age of five, training on violin and guitar and later attending the national conservatory in Bordeaux. He made his way to the United States upon receiving a vocal scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. There his musical palette grew into the distinct sound you hear today.

This sound is exemplified in “Playground,” which is deeply rooted in indie-R&B and left-of-center pop, largely showcasing Castel’s effortless, honeyed vocals. Hitting you from the start with his gorgeous falsetto over a mellow chord progression, he immediately transports his listener to a much more steamy version of reality. As this lustful scene builds and unfolds, the production mirrors the storyline, flowering into a slow-burning groove. The utilization of a half step modulation in the final chorus cranks up the heat, bringing us closer and closer to that moment until ceasing, leaving you to find a playground of your own. 😉

Jessica Thomas