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Josie Dunne’s ‘Old School’ densely depicts dating

Lars Lonnroth, Assistant News Editor

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LT alumnus Josie Dunne’s first single, “Old School,” seems destined for the pop airwaves. With a pleasant—yet surprising—combination of upbeat piano, pulsing trumpets and a somewhat electronic bass beat, the song flows together perfectly.

This isn’t Dunne’s first rodeo. At 21 years old, she has had some success in Nashville as a songwriter, even writing a song for teenage celebrity Jacob Sartorius. Although this is one of her first songs as an independent artist, it won’t be for long.

“Old School” is the first taste of what Dunne has in store, with an EP slated for release later this year. As a first release, this is sure to stir some buzz prior to the album’s release.

In listening to “Old School,” I found it hard not to imagine myself zooming down a California highway just outside of LA in a top-down, red convertible. It is one of those songs that takes you back to summer and it opens the floodgates of good memories.

The song is incredibly polished, and the smooth production makes it seem to just emerge into perfection. But the polish of the song, coupled with the occasional intentional distortion of Dunne’s voice in the chorus, can make it sound somewhat glib.  

At some points, “Old School” comes off as a formulaic attempt to make a hit, just screaming pop radio. But at the same time, it is an exquisitely well done song. The song’s ability to maintain a carefree feeling without sacrificing musical density is what makes it shine.

The individual pieces of Dunne’s musical puzzle—mainly trumpets, drums, pianos, guitars—are pieced together in a way where not one aspect is too dominant. While there are points where one of the instruments shines greater than the other, it just adds to the song.

While listening to “Old School,” I found myself switching from paying attention to the piano, to the trumpets, then to the driving yet subtle drum beat. This musical density does not stifle the song’s laid back feeling, and also makes it easy to listen to over and over again as it doesn’t lean on any element too heavily.

It is, in some ways, like a heavily detailed painting. From up close, there are many pieces that tell their own independent story. An old man reading a newspaper, a man playing chess, a kid playing with his grandfather, etc. But when you zoom out, these individual stories work together to tell a totally separate story that would be missed just looking at the whole

In “Old School,” the musicianship is incredibly apparent when looking at the independent elements that make the song come together in the way that it does.  

Lyrically, the song is incredibly well written, even utilizing metaphors and other figurative language to make her point (Dunne’s LT English teachers must be so proud). Criticizing the apparent lack of connection in the age of dating apps like Tinder, the song tries to take you back to time where things were done more traditionally.

Dunne’s first single has a lot to be excited about. The density shows an attention to detail that many fail to ever develop. In “Old School,” Dunne takes it back to the days where music was carefully crafted—she is doing it old school.

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Josie Dunne’s ‘Old School’ densely depicts dating