Loyalty is an innate human need that has been ingrained in us since the beginning of time. From the early days of hunters and gatherers forming communities, our survival has depended on the success of our chosen group. But what happens when the unwavering loyalty you held so dearly is shattered by someone you welcomed into your inner circle?
Dale Rodman and his band, Dale and the ZDubs, entered the studio to share a story saturated with this very sense of betrayal. Here, their latest single, “Becoming A Coward” was born.
Dale’s willingness to lay bare his life is a remarkable aspect of his songwriting. Even more impressively, Rodman manages to strike a balance between specific storytelling and a vagueness that resonates with the masses. While most of us may not relate to being imprisoned, many of us can relate to being deceived by a supposed ride-or-die companion or having someone only stick around when things are going well. These themes carry us throughout the song.
Verse after verse, Dale shares the details of his story, but each time the chorus arrives, we hear him asking the same questions we all ask ourselves when trying to comprehend how we let someone like that into our lives.
“Why’d you do me like that? Why’d you do me like that? There’s no taking that back, there’s no taking that back…”
As the song progresses, anguish and apprehension are conveyed through the sound waves. Line after line, we are confronted with the painful reality of abandonment. While this tale is Dale’s own, the despair is all of ours.
Musically, Dale and the ZDubs have created a song that flawlessly blends the lively reggae-ska sound we’ve come to adore with a surprising, heavier rock-anthem ending. The guys collectively build tension, both lyrically and musically, with each verse.
The keys in this tune hit sharply, each note like an exclamation point. This carries the song until the end, solidifying its powerful impact. A brief, silky guitar solo in the middle of the song provides a taste of what lies ahead. However, when the drums and smooth basslines build up before the final chorus, the involuntary head-bobbing you didn’t even realize you were doing will transform into head-banging.
If you’ve ever been left abandoned by someone you believed would never “do you like that”, this song is for you. “Becoming A Coward” unites us all through the retelling of a shared yet personal experience. It is fueled by the disloyal aspects of the people we choose to rely on and the aftermath they leave behind, all wrapped in a catchy reggae/rock melody. Stream it today and feel the intensity!
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.