Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Talk about a song that speaks to the moment – Ryan Bale’s “Searching” is a cathartically screamed warning in a year spent waiting for something to happen, and for which the stakes keep rising almost unbearably the more you pay attention. This isn’t to say Bale has written about the coronavirus, or election-year politics or, in fact, anything specific; he’s not searching for a vaccine in his simple but super-effective video. But whatever it’s for, the wait is (relatably) driving him “out of his goddamned mind.”

Bale has been around as a member of the Cotones, a Berklee College of Music-founded band whose 2019 “The Party’s Over” sounded a prematurely optimistic note – before anyone had heard of the coronavirus – about showing President Donald Trump the door. In this case, multi-instrumentalist Bale is solo, but backed by Zack Brody on drums (look for his insane grin at the start of the video) and Charlie Blythe Henry on piano. It’s a well-cut clip, with a subtle amount of variation in color and effect that keeps you watching. Bale’s smart-ass interplay with the camera is just as fun.

That’s all secondary to the song, which has a strong, malevolently pulsing hook that’s hard to shake. It’s revealing enough of Bale’s affection for Dave Grohl that even before seeing him acknowledge the influence outright, the first strumming notes of the song fit it in comfortably on a playlist with the most tuneful works of Nirvana.

The nervous, jangled, rising energy of “Searching” feels perfect for a 2020 that obliges us to hurry up and wait, no question. But as just a single, the choice is to either listen to this addictively catchy song again or be forced into another search with a wait that could drive us crazy: for Bale to drop his next track.

Watch the song on YouTube and visit Bale’s website.