Jay Luke – Trapped In Your Cell – Review

Jay LukeScranton PA-based Jay Luke has been making rock n’ roll music for almost two decades now. The veteran rocker has played with a litany of who’s who’s, including Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses) and Joey Belladonna. His latest singles “Trapped In Your Cell”, “Side Effects” and “Keep Your Head Kid” continue his trend of offering edgy, powerful, socially conscious rock music.

Jay Luke – Trapped In Your Cell

“Trapped In Your Cell” begins with acoustic guitar playing arpeggiated chords, while the drums maintain a hollowed-out skeleton of a beat underneath. The groove is slow and deliberate, a halting-march. Electric guitar peppers the intro with somber fills. After a few moments, vocals enter the scene, increasing the gloomy vibe from the guitar fills. Tension builds throughout the verse until the chorus comes in, with Luke singing “Trapped in your cell / under a spell / tripped and you fell / ‘cuz your trapped in your cell” as the arrangement climbs to new heights. The “cell” that Luke sings of is the self-imposed prison of modern technology. Lost in our world of swipes, likes, and follows, Luke accurately points out that social media traps us in an artificial world devoid of the emotion and feeling we require as a species. A foreboding guitar solo builds into a final chorus, as Luke provides the listener with one last admonishment regarding the imprisoning seduction of smart phones.

One cannot help but applaud Jay Luke for the socially conscious nature of his lyrics. In a medium such as rock n’ roll it can be very easy for a band to recycle platitudes about partying and clichés about life on the road. For Luke to make his lyrical message about spreading education and awareness is quite a commendable decision. And it pays off in spades, not only because it separates him from the pack; but also because his lyrics provides a depth to his music that might not be present otherwise. While the songs are well written and well produced, there are definitely some formulaic aspects of the writing and arranging. Repetition of arrangement and structure can be a detractor, but as previously mentioned, these potential pitfalls are offset by the magnitude of the lyrical concepts.

Acoustic guitar also gets the ball rolling on “Side Effects”, with arpeggiated chords being augmented after four bars by drums and bass. As Luke’s vocals join the rest of the arrangement the lyrical topic becomes quite clear – the song is an indictment of the pharmaceutical culture so rampant in the USA these days. Luke sings of pills being pushed on unsuspecting patients for every possible condition; the result of course being a nation at the mercy of “side effects” while pharmaceutical executives “count their wealth”. The song follows a familiar pattern through two verses and choruses, building into a searing and well-thought out guitar solo, before finally climaxing back into an extra heavy chorus that falls away into mumbled prescription commercial jargon.

“Keep Your Head Up Kid” finds Luke taking a lyrical left turn and exploring love and loss. As a steady pulse made up of acoustic guitar, bass, and drums keeps the beat moving, Luke discusses the pain of parting ways with a former love. Electric guitar augments the arrangement with fills in the verse and chords in the chorus. While perhaps not as impactful as his more socially conscious work, “Keep Your Head Up Kid” serves as sonic palette cleanser.

Jay Luke’s unique brand of rock n’ roll makes an instant impact on anyone who hears it, and we hope he continues making music for a long time to come!

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