Guest Room Sessions: Jon Reynolds, ‘Situational Demise’
October's installment of The Boot’s Guest Room Sessions features singer-songwriter Jon Reynolds performing his latest single, "Situational Demise." Wrapped in Reynolds' smooth falsetto and simple melody is a strong message about gender inequality.
With "Situational Demise" -- the first song written for his Generation, Love EP -- Reynolds plants a stake in the ground not just as a talented musician but as an active voice in the conversation surrounding social justice and equality. Bright hooks and light melodies make the song a pleasure to listen to even as the lyrics hit right at the heart of a cultural issue that spans generations in America and around the globe.
""Situational Demise" was the first song I wrote for my current EP, so It really set the tone for what I ended up recording," Reynolds tells The Boot. "Even more importantly, the topic, which deals with sexism towards women in marriages, is one I want to push more."
As Reynolds explains, "Situational Demise" is "the story of a woman who is in a marriage she never wanted but won't leave because of the social restraints placed on her, whereas the husband is allowed to live a life of debauchery with little consequence to his reputation." But if that subject matter sounds a bit harsh for daily listening, don't write it off just yet: Reynolds envelopes the theme in a 1960s pop-rock vibe, and in this stripped-down performance, the styling almost sounds romantic.
In the same way, Reynolds' writing accomplishes a fine balance of lyrics that agreeably wash over listeners while remaining honest about the hard realities of inequality: "She doesn't think that she could leave / She could leave if she wanted / That she could leave, she could leave if she wanted," Reynolds sings. "'Cause she believes that / Boys leave / Girls stay / And boys cheat / Girls keep their word / It's situationally absurd."
Reynolds filmed his Guest Room Sessions installment in Nashville with local director Elizabeth Olmstead; they selected a worn-out spot in the heart of the city's manufacturing district for a reason.
"I chose the old industrial sector in Germantown as my location because it mimics the setting of the song," Reynolds says. "You have the 'eight-to-fivers' coming in to work their hours the same way people have been arriving and leaving in that location for the last century. It literally and symbolically connects us to a past time: We still go to work -- we still struggle with sexism."
In fact, Reynolds was so intentional about the setting for this recording that even the bright graffiti mural behind him is there for a reason.
"I felt [the mural] really demonstrated the mix of old and new. It reminds me that no matter how much progress has been made, we are still just putting new paint on old bricks," he notes. "There is still an underlying attitude of prejudice in our society that exists beneath the surface, and it needs more work."
Reynolds' debut EP, Generation, Love, was released on Aug. 5 and is now available on iTunes. Visit the Nashville-based singer's official website for more information on his music, message and upcoming tour dates.