Updated: Dec 6, 2020
"Claustrophobic": PJ Morton
Production: PJ Morton
‘So many people didn’t want me to be myself’, Morton tells the (rather fittingly) packed Tiny Desk crowd during the intro to "Claustrophobic", ‘But I decided I was going to be PJ no matter what people told me and tried to get me to do’. ‘But I must admit, I’m claustrophobic/ I have a hard time trying to fit into your small mind’ sings Morton, rejecting the suffocating commercial pressures of the unrelenting industry.
The groove-tinted, synth-embellished opening is met with a strikingly bare chorus. With its onbeat chord progression and hi-hat kicks, answered by a simple three-note horn motif, the chorus allows the track to breathe. This sense of musical space aptly directs our attention to Morton’s lyricism and refusal to be creatively compartmentalised by the industry.
Morton’s membership in Maroon 5 perhaps provides extra resonance to his subject matter; after all, is there anything on earth more creatively repressive than a Superbowl performance? Regardless, however, Morton cleverly packages Claustrophobic in a straightforward fashion, showcasing a degree of musical sophistication which proves very effective.