Michael Cera: the actor, the meme, the musician?
While we know him for roles such as Arrested Development’s George Michael and Juno’s Paulie Bleeker (as well as that photo of him with the beanie – you know the one), it turns out there’s a whole other side to Michael Cera. He’s actually a closeted songwriter, and a damn fine one at that.
Cera has joined forces with Sharon Van Etten for “Best I Can”, a single written for an upcoming film he’s scoring.
Allegedly recorded in a basement with a Roland synthesizer and drum machine, the track’s initial bubbly riff and stuttering beat set you up for an unapologetic, happy-go-lucky pop experience; an expectation soon challenged with the entry of a swooping string section which cascades over the bridge and into the chorus.
The string arrangements summon memories of Vampire Weekend’s ‘Contra’, and though Cera’s positioning of them are far more jarring and bold than, say, Contra’s ‘Taxi Cab’ or ‘Diplomat’s Son’, they add a certain feel of heartfelt thoughtfulness to the song as a whole – this is clearly not a track that he made in an hour.
Sharon Van Etten dances along in perfect step with the instrumentals, her voice providing a simple purity in the midst of a synthetic ocean. The chorus is an especially welcome respite from the busy electronic motifs which decorate the verses, its change in density allowing Van Etten space to utter some uncomplicated, romantic truths: “All I needed was your love / I will always do the best I can for you.”
Whether you think Michael Cera should just stick to Hollywood or leave it all behind to pursue a musical career, I can guarantee that the allure of this synthpop jam will be having you pressing repeat without even realising.