2022 has been such a huge year for young country singers from one side of our nation to the other, and Jeremy Parsons is one of the top-caliber cowboys that I’ve had the pleasure of examining this autumn. In “Tickin’,” the velvet-voiced Parsons begs for us to look at country music through the lens of a more industrial rock element than most of his peers have experimented with in the past, exploring areas of his artistry previously off limits to the public. “Tickin’” is a smoking single for sure, and it belongs on your stereo right now if you love alternative country.
Parsons’ lyrics are cut and dry, not unlike the instruments that accompany them on this sonic adventure, and it would appear that he went out of his way to avoid the thematic nonsense that once prevented the preceding generation of underground country artists from ever making a meaningful impact on the mainstream level. He’s blunt but homespun in his execution and balances the two sides of his personality like a skilled juggler who has been rehearsing for this gig most – if not all – of his life.
I’m crazy about the hook in this chorus; it’s larger than life and angst-ridden in a way that hasn’t been the norm among the output of alternative country singers lately. Parsons is very contemplative in his statements here, but he doesn’t have to spell everything out for us in the words that he sings; the music is sometimes even more expressive than his prose is, which is something that I think most of us would agree to be the hallmark of a true singer/songwriter. To put it simply, he’s communicating with us via a multilevel approach that I had feared completely extinct in Nashville post-2010.
If there’s anything that I would change about this single, it would be the way that the bass was mixed in the first half of the song. It’s not quite as heart-pumping as the other components are, but I suppose that I can understand why Parsons wouldn’t want to soak the bottom end here in a lot of frilly excesses. He wants the main focus to be on him and his patterned percussive parts, and even if it makes the track slightly less robust in tone than it could have been, I think that, in the big picture, it won’t be something that most listeners take issue with.
I’ll have to see him on tour to be sure, but right now I feel like calling Jeremy Parsons a future hit-maker isn’t all that much of a stretch by any means. “Tickin’” has a lot going for it, with its most notable features including a tightly arranged construction and its singer’s signature vocal, and if the song’s industrial rock undertones are expanded upon in Parsons’ next batch of recordings, he could become the dual-threat that his scene is desperately in need of this season. It’s tough not to believe in him after listening to this release, and that’s putting it quite mildly.