The spirit of innovation within up and coming artists stays constant regardless of what era, time period, or general musical landscape they find themselves in, but there exists certain instances where this spirt shines much brighter than at other times. The potential and promise of defining the sound of the 2020s as early as possible is a perfect example of this notion’s validity, and an equally perfect artist is embodying what it means to make this attempt. 

Brayden Valerie is the definition of such a catalyst — an artist that in each succeeding release makes a daring attempt to forward and/or innovate a particular sound with the hopes that it will become something beyond a singular instance of experimentation. His newest single “Hamburger Hill” is, in essence, the anthem to this claim, and it is unquestionably obvious as to why. 

Despite so many acts attempting the exact same methodology to their work, Valerie trumps their efforts by simply showcasing a far better understanding of the sheer potential of the next decade’s sounds and trends. In just 3 short minutes, this single encapsulates everything that alternative pop in the 2020s could easily become. 

These blatantly bold claims are valiantly supported by nearly everything that makes this song sound how it does. As a creative mind unlike any other – one that purposefully detracts from the norm in order to discover the new norm – Valerie flaunts his organizational and compositional talents with such ease. 

Perhaps these efforts are made even easier when the track is supplemented by production from fellow phenoms Riley the Musician, Damon Rush, and the Pom Poms. To say this is an all-star cast of talent on one track is an understatement, and the instrumental’s masterful cohesion of sounds that are so familiar, yet presented with such nuance perfectly align with this cast’s prior work as a whole. 

From the undeniably gripping guitar riff that drives the groove forward without any sense of letting up, to the intelligible vocal snippets that tighten this grip on the listener even harder, this group proves that their knack for an engaging lead melody goes far and beyond something as simple as an undoctored sample or something of that liking. 

These notions take an even more drastic turn as the song develops further, with those instrumental aspects eventually turning far more manic and sporadic as the breakdown concludes the track with such satisfaction. 

While the track certainly shines in its equally loose and dense instrumental selection and composition, its utter personality simply would not be the same without the ever-dynamic and ever-captivating lead performance from Valerie himself. 

As understated in his inflections as ever, his delivery just oozes all there is to know regarding his “mission statement” as an MC on a track like this. What Valerie portrays through his vocal performance is exactly how he wants the world to see him, or to see the character he is painting so vividly; it is one of Hollywood-saturation, one that exudes confidence without feeling the need to put any sort of emphasis on the concept of “confidence” as it is. In essence, it is a realistic depiction of an atypical 2020s rockstar. 

This is a concept that Valerie knows better than anyone else, and it is truly because he and the people that surround him are defining what that term will come to mean in the decade that it is fixated on. The overall pop culture scene in the 2020s needs profound figures, and these figures need anthems to back them up. More than anyone and anything else, Brayden Valerie and “Hamburger Hill” embody everything that statement stands for at this very moment.