You may not yet have heard of The Best Around, and that wouldn’t be absurd—the band was formed just this year, during quarantine. What is absurd is how polished their new track, “Margaret,” sounds given that the song was created by piecing together files from each band member who would record remotely.
According to the band’s singer and songwriter, Camron Rushin, “I made a video of myself playing [the song] on acoustic guitar and sent it to Todd [Pruner, who has played bass for English Teeth, Kodachrome, The Foundries, and Christopher Douthitt and the Glyphs, and played lead guitar for The Asteroid Shop]. A few days later he sent me back a file with the rhythm section so I could record my vocals over it. I sent those back, and then he sent those files to Jon [Merz, a multi-instrumentalist who has played trumpet, trombone, keyboards and guitar for Montopolis, My Jerusalem, Soul Track Mind, The Foundries, Monk Parker and Uke] who added the lead guitar and horns… Unlike other bands who can meet in person and practice for hours, we don’t have that luxury. In fact, I’ve only met Jon twice and one of those times was to take some band photos in Todd’s backyard.”
Crazy, right? What’s even crazier is how this song communicates exactly what it was intended to communicate. “Margaret” is a product of the state of 2020, and is very personal for Camron. “Having this existential dread of coronavirus looming, my cousin passing only two weeks before being quarantined (not from coronavirus, but something more rare and unexpected), my cat of 15 years also on death’s door, and just the whole absurdity of the current state of the country, I needed to distract myself by writing something. So, I wrote a song re-interpreting my cousin’s death as her being able to foresee the future and deciding for herself that it was the best time to go… In “Margaret,” you can hear this in the duality of the upbeat music and melody with the downer lyrics about me watching my cousin die. I think everyone does this in some way to cope with the world, rewriting in their heads how a relationship played out to justify their actions.”
For a lyrically heavy song, it is easy to listen to. It elicits a mixture of nostalgia, familiarity, comfort, and melancholy all at once, making it impossible to turn off. If this is what The Best Around can create without even being in the same room, we can’t wait to hear what they will produce in a studio.