Times New Roman Grants His Listeners 'Satisfaction' With New Demo
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 21:10
Written, recorded, and almost entirely produced by Times New Roman (William Bolton, CSOM ’16), Satisfaction is an eclectic demo tape of Motown, soul, and hip-hop style songs. Bolton fuses these different genres, sampling, layering, and creating beats to either sing or rap over. His four-track demo takes its inspiration from current artists like Mayer Hawthorne and Pharell Williams, but it also pays tribute to more traditional influences. Seamlessly reconciling the sounds of the past with those of the present, Satisfaction presents the work of an artist who’s as comfortable with his roots as he is curious about new musical possibilities.
The demo opens with “Diamonds,” an upbeat track about love and fame. It finds Bolton singing about his “Darlin’,” a girl he loves despite her superficial obsession with movie stars, parties, and Hollywood. And though he hasn’t reached that kind of celebrity status as of yet, the song demonstrates Bolton considering both the positive and negative consequences of fame—including false affection. “I could cook you breakfast / but all you really wanted was a diamond necklace,” he croons, wishing he could win his girl’s heart with sentiment rather than money.
With its bright, looping guitar riff and bouncing beat, “Diamonds” is light, fresh, and carefree—the kind of song you sing in the car with the windows down in the summer. It’s even got a resonant, female gospel chorus ringing “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” on the refrain. The combination of all of these musical elements gives the song a real retro vibe.
“Passion,” the demo’s next song, is decidedly different from “Diamonds”—it’s not so much groovy as it is jazzy. Slow and smooth, the song is founded on a simple, recurring chord progression, reminiscent of classic jazz arrangements. But it’s by no means instrumentally conventional—it blends both vintage features, like suave trumpeting horns, with more modern ones, like a stuttering, electronic, vocal refrain. This quality makes parts of “Passion,” sound, at least melodically, similar to songs off John Legend’s most recent R&B album, Love in the Future.
Lyrically, this song is the most distinct. While the other three generally speak to Bolton’s musical career in one sense or another, the lyrics on “Passion” are strictly about a romantic relationship. He sings about a whole list of cliches—from kissing in the rain, to making late-night phone calls, to writing love letters—but he does so with sincerity, allowing the song to retain its authentic character.
Powerful and bold, “Bizarre” sets itself apart from the rest of the demo with its rap from guest artist A$H. Its sound is sharp, and its lines are explicit—but it complements Bolton well, as he sings about his past, present, and future in music. “Homies you should know that I’m from Motown / Got that soul sound / And I’ll never slow down / Times New Roman,” he says, introducing himself as someone “Spitting bars with elegance … / Hollerin’ at hunnies / while pursuin’ a life of excellence.”
“Bizarre” opens with a muted Star Wars audio clip that blends into a swelling, violin-heavy orchestra, and eventually breaks down into a steady beat. With all of this, plus a rap cut, and a guitar solo, there’s a lot going on in this track, but somehow it works—and it’s interesting.
The demo tape takes its title from its last track, “Satisfaction,” a song which, instrumentally, has the same alluring feel as RJD2’s “A Beautiful Mine,” the theme song to the ’50s-period drama Mad Men. Again, Bolton spits lines about working toward musical success, singing, “Living on the edge like I’m born to die / Getting out my dreams / Wanna tour and write / Watch me while I light up like a firefly / Trying to get that satisfaction.”
Satisfaction proves that Bolton is confident in his “retro but cool” style—his direction is clear and consistent. And if his demo is any indication of what to expect from his upcoming full-length release, listeners will probably be satisfied.