By: Kate Pallini
Recently, Martin Johnson and his new group, The Night Game released their first single as an up-and-coming band. Johnson, the lead singer, was once the lead vocalist for the band, Boys Like Girls and is now taking his vocals and songwriting talents on a new endeavor that has been received extremely well by The Night Game’s fans. Their first single, “The Outfield” has already launched their popularity and has gained them lots of attention with its ‘80s vibes.
The song demonstrates Johnson’s famously wide vocal range as he sings of the difficulty of having feelings for someone who doesn’t know what she wants and seems to be playing with his emotions instead of being honest with him about her feelings. Johnson confesses that he “[wants] to love her” and that “[she] left [him] waiting out in the cold,” implying that he’s tried pretty hard to get this girl, even though she has more fun playing with many men’s hearts instead of committing to one. With a girl who seems to have the most power over the protagonist in this story (whether it’s Johnson himself, or a random, lovesick man), she seems to bring all of the boys to their knees.
Admittedly, the chorus is my favorite part. As a huge fan of Boys Like Girls, Johnson’s vocals in the chorus immediately took me back to my high school days of listening to the band’s songs when I was going through something. Maybe that’s why I like this band so much already; it’s a sense of nostalgia that I feel. Moreover, the imagery that the band employed specifically for the chorus provides a visual that helps the listener connect with the protagonist’s feelings of feeling so close yet so far to the person who keeps marginalizing him, even though he knows he would be the best guy for her. Quite literally, we imagine the singer standing in the outfield of a baseball field that seems to symbolize the game she’s playing with all the boys. The protagonist feels as distant as an outfielder, and it’s driving him crazy him to know that she is just playing games and won’t take someone, who has actual feelings for her, seriously. He repeats the imagery of games being played when he sings, “Tonight, I’m just another toy left on the floor.” Once again, he implies that this girl objectifies men that are interested in her and only uses them when she feels like having fun, like a child with her toys.
Johnson closes the song by repeating the catchy lines: “If you want it, tell me why ya gotta be so hard to get?” These lyrics, paired with the innovative ‘80s style accompaniment, make the listener want to chant it loudly in a concert hall, dance to it, or blast it on a long car ride with friends. It makes the listener (especially me) excited to see what the band cooks up next. Will they keep this style of music consistent throughout the whole album, or will it be a variety of different styles of music? In his career, Johnson has proven that he can master any style of music; therefore, I’m sure it will be incredible, whatever they produce next.
Listen to the track by clicking here!