With the force of a dropkick to the solar plexus, Charlottetown-based multi-disciplinary artist Russell Louder levels listeners with “Cost of Living”. The song’s stealth beat — a mix of sparse bass, polished synths, and spotless production — is hypnotic; Louder’s voice is seductive and confident all at once.
Louder’s lyrical opponent, a psychological-emotional beast amassed from past experiences, looms over the diminutive singer like Goliath over David. Louder’s secret weapon is their resilience and tenacity. Counting blows, tears, and scars to tally all that they have “earned”, Louder finds might and muscle in “Cost of Living”’s melodic footwork and defensive posture. Louder’s singing is wistful and at times reserved, allowing the song’s piercing chorus to land with maximum impact when they belt out “And tell me now / Could this be the cost of living / Trying to drown it out / To forget without forgiving / And I wonder now / Because I’m trying to stay aware / How could I be hiding / If I know you’ll find me there.”
The crystalline production and Louder’s impressive performance land like a one-two punch. They allow “Cost of Living” to stand out amongst the bevy of end-of-year releases and result in one of the most unforgettable songs of the year.