Premiere: A Familiar Ache in LJ Gomez’s Poignant “Replay”

LJ Gomez © Mari Hernandez
LJ Gomez’s aching “Replay” paints a poignant portrait of grief as the artist scours his memory of an ill-fated relationship to understand what went wrong.

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Life is intensified when it comes to matters of the heart: Each encounter, every seemingly innocuous exchange… We remember them vividly. If and when things go south, they’re there for us, waiting as we return to them time and again to figure out what went wrong, or perhaps to understand how things got to where they are today. LJ Gomez’s aching song “Replay” paints a poignant portrait of grief as the artist desperately scours his memory, watching reruns of an ill-fated relationship to understand what went wrong.

And I keep going over this in my head
was it me was it you, I don’t know, I don’t know
And this just keeps on replaying on my mind
was I wrong were you wrong I don’t know I don’t know
Listen: “Replay” – LJ Gomez

Atwood Magazine is proud to be featuring “Replay,” the lead single from LJ Gomez’s sophomore EP, Against Every Current (independently released 12/17/2017). A bittersweet, soulful exhale of sadness and uncertainty, “Replay” introduces Gomez’s penchants for jazz structures and smooth rhythms through a jammy, melody-driven pop song. The Austin, Texas-based artist croons a tale of heartbreak amidst a sea of expressive harmonies and blue notes, letting emotions guide us on a familiar path that hopefully leads to some sort of enlightenment:

Replay - LJ Gomez

Replay – LJ Gomez

The chemistry was so off
I should of seen this miles ago
I’m just playing, I’m not psychic
for all I known this could of been real cool
And too bad we were searching for something neither one us had
you’re my fuel, I’m you’re fire
but together we’re bad

“Lyrically, the song was influenced by the lack of success in romance I had at that moment in time, and about feeling in doubt because things didn’t work out with a certain person,” Gomez shares with Atwood Magazine. “Musically, I wanted it to be a fun pop song despite the lyrics; I used extended jazz chords and soulful harmonies – those are elements I like to use in most of my music.” It may not be his brightest moment story-wise, but “Replay” certainly does depict a core tenant of the LJ Gomez sound.

And I keep going over this in my head
was it me was it you, I don’t know, I don’t know
And this just keeps on replaying on my mind
was I wrong were you wrong I don’t know I don’t know
LJ Gomez © 2018

LJ Gomez © 2018

Recorded at Gomez’s home studio with Fabian Duran on percussion, “Replay” is an appropriately flawed recording: Gomez has vocal out-of-tune moments, colorfully fluctuating as he drifts between harmonies in his quest for closure. It’s jazz, baby: Though not what our Top 40 radio-trained ears deem a “professional” move, this element captures a piece of the song’s underlying theme: That we’re all imperfect and incomplete, and that’s ok. As Gomez sings:

I’ll be alright in a couple of days
Life’s way to short and we gotta go on
but for now
I’m stuck on replay…

A promising voice with a tendency toward vibrant melodies, LJ Gomez is an artist to keep an eye out for over the next few years. His songwriting is earnest and his voicings are spot-on, but it’s ultimately his jazz influence that helps set his music apart, and we can’t wait to hear what he does next. Listen to more from Against Every Current below!

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:: stream/purchase Against Every Current here ::

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Against Every Current - LJ Gomez

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📸 © Mari Hernandez
album art © Cameron Wilson

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com