The Victory Drive - Before I Self Destruct (Deluxe Edition)

I recently had the pleasure of listening to “Before I Self Destruct” by The Victory Drive from Belmar, New Jersey and I must say it’s for sure a new pop pleaser. A fresh album with creative blends and catchy choruses, make no mistake this is a powerful pop rock EP that packs a punch! You get roped in with all the hooks and harmonies right from the very start. Not to mention the appropriately placed synths, various hip hop and rock drums, and sultry piano melodies. Impressive to have such a diverse and well-rounded album written, performed, and produced almost entirely by one person. It may be short, but the content and songwriting in “Before I Self Destruct” is certainly “Deluxe.”

The EP kicks off with the track “Hey, Anxiety!” A song about dealing with social anxiety and straight up nerves. We can all relate to that. As an artist myself, I certainly can. The uneasy, uptempo beat really pulls at the nerves too, hammering home the anxious feeling the song is creating. It’s important to note that the pop essence of this album is immediately present once singer Jamie McClanahan starts vocalizing. He has a unique way of coloring each word/note in a way that complements the song and style of the music. The ending of the tune features gang vocals and clapping which really brings out the sarcasm of “Welcome back, anxiety,” which is sung in the chorus. All of a sudden the track is cut short with an abrupt record scratch, and the fun is over. How ironic, right? 

Now we’re on “The Countdown, part II.” A song reflecting on a past relationship that McClanahan would like to reconcile. While this is a pop rock song at heart, the electronic drum sounds hint at some hip hop. Then we’re met by a funky guitar riff in the chorus which makes this tune very danceable. And the background of the track is wrapped and packaged with a pretty piano melody that really brings out the emotion in the lyrics. 

The vibe of the album changes pace a bit with the next song. In this middle track, singer and producer Jamie McClanahan takes things down a few notches and hits us with something smooth. 

Right from the beginning, we’re greeted with a soft piano melody and McClanahan crooning atop. “Ashley” is the song. Here we have a beautiful ballad about love lost and longed for. Even though this one is a more smooth and melodic number, the snap and crackle of that pop that Jamie loves is still way present in the chorus. No question about it, The Victory Drive has got the hooks and all the smooth vocal melodies to go with it. An important mention in “Ashley” is the super gripping key change at the last chorus which is paired with an orchestra, drums, and synths that really drive the powerful ballad home.

The intro of the fourth track, “Dynamite,” explodes open the pop rock that was being suppressed during the previous track. Once we get past the marching band style intro, this tune has sweet falsettos, punchy drums, and an explosively catchy chorus. And we can’t forget the horny synth (stop laughing) at the end that gives me a vision of sirens on a battlefield. 

The EP closes with “Hollywood.” Honestly, this dude’s destined for it. He’s got the hooks, holds the looks, and ain’t gonna be shook. Not to mention, he’s got some other great albums under his belt so he ain’t no rook. Anyway, this song is on the more chill side, but the drums in this one are hinting at hip hop, creating a real nice multi-genre blend. And once again, we got that pop with the “paparazzi” reference at the end of “Hollywood” and all the vocal hooks throughout the rest of the song. 

I really love the mixture of sounds and other complimentary genres that The Victory Drive introduces throughout the entirety of “Before I Self Destruct.” While it sits more on the pop rock spectrum, this album is still a great listen for anyone and everyone with ears. It’s got danceable grooves, relatable lyrics, and finely tuned songwriting. Jamie McClanahan AKA “The Victory Drive” has done it again!

To hear The Victory Drive’s music go to these links:

And support The Victory Drive’s socials here:

- Mike Oregano 🌿 

Oregano Entertainment Network, Oregano Records


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