Sat. May 18th, 2024

DUEL NATIVE’s “One Street Back”: A Haunting Melody of Displacement and the Quest for Sustainable Change

By allenpetersonreviews May5,2024

Stephen Choi, the multi-instrumentalist mastermind behind DUEL NATIVE, is a genre-bending artist. His musical tapestry draws inspiration from the infectious rhythms of Bob Marley and the ethereal soundscapes of Bjork, resulting in a sound that’s both hopeful and melancholic. This signature style finds a powerful expression in DUEL NATIVE’s latest offering, “One Street Back.” The song delves into the complex issue of gentrification, offering a raw and honest look at its human cost and the limitations of current solutions.

DUEL NATIVE, a Melbourne-based musical force, is more than just Stephen Choi. The live band features the talents of violinist Erin Tidswell, guitarist Leong Chan, drummer Rachel Hur and bassist Dylan Tolsma. Together, they create a soundscape that perfectly complements the song’s message. The gentle melancholy of the melody mirrors the initial hope that washes over a struggling community as outsiders arrive, “painting words on cardboard” and promising a brighter future. However, a critical eye lurks beneath the surface. The lyrics, laced with phrases like “moral highs,” expose the performative nature of some activism. This activism fails to address the systemic issues that have plagued the community for years.

The chorus explodes this initial optimism, revealing the harsh reality. The term “some-old’-Kun” paints a vivid picture of the community’s original residents. These residents, who have built lives and memories on these streets, are now facing displacement. Their homes become commodities, “carved up and sold” to fuel the engine of gentrification that creeps forward, one street at a time.

“One Street Back” doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the potential benefits of gentrification. The second verse hints at the possibility of improved infrastructure and a more robust economy. However, a haunting “but” hangs in the air. The song forces us to question who truly benefits from these changes. Are they truly for the betterment of the existing community, or are they simply paving the way for wealthier residents to move in?

The song underscores the fleeting nature of solutions. The singer grapples with the fading impact of protest banners that eventually get taken down and the waning enthusiasm of social media activism. As engagement dwindles, the underlying issues persist—metaphorically called the system’s “addictions.”

The weight of this knowledge hangs heavy. The repeated “we know” in the outro echoes a collective burden of guilt and awareness. The song acknowledges the limitations of current solutions and leaves the listener with a powerful question: Can we break out of this cycle and create a future that benefits everyone?

Ultimately, “One Street Back” is a call to action. It pushes us to look beyond performative gestures and grapple with the human cost of gentrification. It compels us to confront the systemic issues that push long-time residents out and question the true impact of well-meaning but ultimately unsustainable efforts. The song lingers long after the music fades, prompting us to seek out solutions that uplift communities without displacement. It’s a call to find a way to break the cycle and create a future where progress truly benefits all.

With its insightful lyrics and a melody that perfectly captures the emotional complexities of the issue, “One Street Back” is a powerful reminder of the human cost of urban change. It’s a song that deserves to be heard and reflected upon, a catalyst for a conversation about how we can create a more equitable and sustainable future for our cities.

For more DUEL NATIVE-on-Spotify, DUEL NATIVE-on-Instagram

Related Post