Paul Maged – ‘Crossroads’

A rock album balancing melodic immediacy with gripping lyrical commentary on feelings of in-between, Crossroads is the latest from NYC=based artist Paul Maged. “I titled this album, ‘Crossroads’ because I’m at one personally and our country is at one as well,” Maged explains. “I wanted to explore the relationship between the internal struggle of every human and the external struggles of our society.”

The opening “Martyr War” references propaganda machines with scathing relevance, rousing alongside impassioned vocals and driving guitars. Commentary regarding “his regime of zombies,” speaks to the mind-numbing tendencies of cult followings, seizing on hate and envy at the expense of overall progress. The two-minute mark proves especially riveting with its ’80s-friendly guitar tones and vocal switch-up, launching into a frenzied guitar solo thereafter.

“A Sudden Contrast” is a strikingly different stylistic take, eschewing the heavy guitars and vigor-full vocals in favor of piano-fronted balladry. The lyrics stir as strings enter, providing a comforting reassurance that fear and loneliness can be only temporary. “I reach for you,” signals a particularly impactful rise. Similarly, the closing title track achieves an emotional power, with a more folk/rock mixture — set to lyrics concerning depression and suicidal thoughts.

“I encourage anyone with those thoughts to try and talk to someone, anyone, before it’s too late,” Maged says. “The song also has a hope, yearning and love throughout but only because I was able to come out the other side.”

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of August 2023’ Spotify playlist.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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