Kiss Your Money and Your Dreams Goodbye by California
Reviewer: Vai Thomas & Staff
Protest music genre is core to the listener’s repertoire, even more so in today’s times with plenty happening around the world, to put it mildly. And the genre today is even more a testament to the novelty and creativity of the arrangement and overall musicality as it is about the raw emotion expounded in the songwriting and themes – a most crucial aspect of protest music. It's no surprise that pop-rock duo California have come up with one such fiery example in the form of their latest, titled ‘Kiss Your Money and Your Dreams Goodbye’.
Written in the key of C Major, California, comprising of Les Fradkin (who also serves as lead vocalist) and Loretta Pieper Fradkin, have managed to come up with a timely, raw and sterling number that is lyrically themed upon how certain companies take advantage of the people under the pretext of war (something that the Fradkin's experienced first-hand, hence the song being conceived). This is a song about profit, power, and people. Right from the very first note, the number wastes no time with Les’ warm timbre crooning the title with a no-nonsensical approach (and just the right amount of sarcasm) that makes the listener sit up with anticipation and curiosity. His vocals continue to expound the thematic material with unflinching detail delivering the cautionary tale (written by both the Fradkin's) such as “Don’t forget the small print the part that says they can take you anywhere they want, even Afghanistan” and “We all signed a contract with no remedy or recourse, even calls to Congress just don’t do us any good”. The song is rendered in the major scale tonality with an understated anger that's effective and doesn't turn the listener away. In fact, the melodic topline is rightly kept simplistic and flowing – using the first five notes of the C Major scale for the most part throughout – rendering the memorable melody for easy listener recall. A raplike section at the end sounds like a group protest outside the corporate building. You can literally hear signs being held up and protestors chanting. The arrangement is carefully structured, replete with two verses, chorus, a bridge and an instrumental interlude – and all within less than three minutes. The electric guitar interlude during the instrumental solo serves as a perfect sidekick and foil to the vocal spearhead in expounding the protest theme, as does the arrangement itself, right down to the placement of the harmonic vocals upon precise spots, and the scorching mix of the kick sound, well rounded and compressed and in tandem with every musical element within the number. Nearly every aspect of this pop rock number is excellently, and purposefully, invested in encouraging the consumer to fight back against corporate greed. The song itself is a representative of consumers who have been wronged.
This two minute fifty-six-second-long winner is yet another example of the fiery creativity of California, and the real-world purpose that music, specifically protest music, can serve through a simple approach of unbridled honesty and nonchalant swagger, combined with a superlative arrangement and a theme that is at once relatable to the listener. ‘Kiss Your Money and Your Dreams Goodbye’ is an original and worthy testament to the powers of protest music.
About California The group California, featuring Les Fradkin (Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Mellotron, Bass, Producer and Songwriter) as it’s founding Original Member and still leading the group to this day, were Laurie Records recording Artists in the 1970’s and 1980’s. California had several Hit Singles during that time period including “See You In September”, “Jeans On”, “Summer Fun Medley” and “He’s Almost You”. Other California highlights included an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand TV show singing “Summer Fun Medley” as well as a Top 50 UK Chart placing for “He’s Almost You”. In fact, in 2020, a California B-Side “Paris (1945)” roared to the top of the Dutch and EU Charts. Now, California thunders back at RRO Entertainment with all new material. California returns with Les Fradkin - Vocals, Mellotron, Piano, Bass, Guitars, Ztar, Songwriter and Co-Production and Loretta Pieper Fradkin - Vocals, Songwriter and Co-Production. Les and Loretta have co-authored numerous hits during 2022, including 8 consecutive #1 UK Indie Radio Chart hits for Les Fradkin as a Solo Artist, several #1 hits on Los Angeles, California Indie Radio as well as “Under the Covers” placing at #50 in the Billboard Media Base CHR Activator Chart. For 2023 release, California presents its brand-new Original Hit Single “Kiss Your Money and Your Dreams Goodbye”.