Dom Champ releases his exceptional debut ‘The Good Side’, and it’s an early contender for album of the year.
Dom Champ – The Good Side
Eastbourne’s Dom Champ, aka Dominic Champion, has been involved in music most of his life, from learning piano at a young age to writing raps from the age of 16.
He released his debut single ‘I Feel Better’ in 2018, and follow up single ‘Slow’ in 2020. Since then he has been honing his craft and working on his debut full-length album ‘The Good Side’.
The album is a testament to Champ’s diverse influences, from Kendrick Lamar to Pink Floyd and everything in-between, somehow melding this eclectic mix together to create his own unique sound.
Lyrically, ‘The Good Side’ reveals that Champ is angry, angry at the state of the world, media misinformation, the climate disaster, and the lack of action from our political leaders. Yet as the name suggests, ‘The Good Side’ isn’t just spitting rage, as Champ uses the cathartic release of music to find peace, and deliver a message of hope.
The album opens with ‘Intro’ which, as the name suggests, introduces what to expect musically and lyrically. Like its namesake on the 2009 debut from The xx, the opening track will excite the listener about what is to come. Guitar and horns build tension, before making way for Champ’s harmonised vocals singing
‘I dream of a better world, Here’s my voice towards it.’
This leads into a classic hip hop beat, Champ despairing about the lack of action on climate change by political leaders, urging listeners to raise hell, for ‘the people united can’t be beaten’. The track closes with the first taste of the album’s Pink Floyd influence.
‘Not All Bad’, the first single which we previously reviewed here at Right Chord Music is the most straight-up hip hop track. ‘Hey You’ deals with the issue of fake news, particularly the evils of social media. ‘Scrolling, Scrolling, trying to take control while the headlines eat away your soul’. Champ laments the difficulty in determining what is real and what is fake in the modern media landscape.
‘The Collapse’ is dark and concerningly relevant, dealing with society’s overwhelming need for material things, a drive that is destroying the planet to the point of collapse. Champ is angry, but his delivery is subtle, akin to Gorillaz era Damon Albarn.
‘The Power of Love’ begins what is a more hopeful second half of the album, with Champ promoting the power of love and music to promote change. Similarly, ‘Get Your Head Up’ is upbeat, both musically and lyrically. It is a call to arms to those disenfranchised and angry at the state of the world, ‘Get up, Get your head up, You only got one life so don’t let up.’ The power of the people will drive change, as long as we remain seen and heard.
The penultimate track, ‘Don’t Worry Too Much’ is slower, led by guitar, sounding a little like Oasis if they had been less ‘influenced’ (cough) by The Beatles and more by Pink Floyd. It delivers a positive message, repeating the phrase ‘I believe, yes I believe, it’s gonna be ok’. Melodically beautiful, this track is a clear highlight. It stands out because of what precedes it, for without the anger, tension, and at times sense of despair leading to this point, the release that ‘Don’t Worry Too Much’ provides would not be as effective.
However, it is not all roses and rainbows to finish. The final track ‘Outro’ reminds us that we must, at least in part, maintain the rage. It is quieter, relying on piano and clarinet for melody, again showing Champs musical range. Lyrically it reminds us again of the danger of climate change. ‘The planet slowly dies but we’re lucky to be alive’.
‘The Good Side’ is an album that should be listened to from start to finish, in the order intended by the artist. Whilst the tracks stand up on their own, the listener is truly rewarded by taking the journey as Champ intended, like a novel. Despite the darkness, it is an album of hope, promoting the power that we all have to make a difference and drive change.
Irrespective of the subject matter, musically this is an exceptional album. The diversity of influences present does not result in a disjointed sound, with Champ seamlessly blending a variety of styles, a feat the more impressive given the album is self-produced.
So we say, please listen to this album, from start to finish, over and over again. It will be a truly rewarding experience.
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Words Nicholas Cheek