ROLE MODEL displays confidence yet sounds whiny on new single

Interscope Records/Courtesy

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Grade: 3.0/5.0

Tucker Pillsbury wants you to know: He “don’t need nobody.” 

Pillsbury, who goes by the stage name, ROLE MODEL, released his newest single “For the People in the Back,” which recounts his experiences with fake friends and sudden attention in a post-fame lifestyle, May 27. 

“They start asking for some free s— and imma leave quick/ Funny how some people change up when you change up,” he says in the first verse. While these lines do recount experiences that he has had, the spoiled sentiments sound complaining and thrown together.

ROLE MODEL signed to Interscope Records in 2018, and has been on an upward path to fame ever since. Often compared to boy-bandish solo artists such as Omar Apollo and Cuco, Pillsbury makes tracks for all of your lo-fi study playlists and hangout sessions.

The artist’s music on Spotify dates back to 2017, when he first posted his EP, Arizona in the Summer. The track “Minimal” then took off after it was released as a single last year, now hitting in at more than 9 million streams on Spotify.

Resting comfortably in but also challenging the bedroom pop genre, Pillsbury tends to shape his music with upbeat, sparkly production styles that pull from hip-hop traditions. “For the People in the Back” is an example of this genre fluidity, appealing to younger audiences while incorporating radio-friendly elements. 

The song starts with an organic, bare dose of sounds that makes listeners picture one of those beat production stations from mid-2000s movies. His opening scream of “The volume won’t go any higher” cuts right to the chase in introducing the frustration that seemingly inspired this release. 

While the song is an honest callout of people he has encountered, however, Pillsbury can’t help but come across as just a little bit too whiny. 

About one minute into the song, his topic starts to get tired. “Let me continue to tell you how many people I grew up with are trying to take advantage of my fame,” the artist seems to say. Yes, it does suck that the girls who ignored you in high school now want to hang out, but repeating this frustration so many times without much substance does not help.

The song title plays off of the popular phrase, “Say it louder for the people in the back,” often used as a sign of support when someone makes a bold statement. In this song, there just aren’t too many of these bold statements, and the message comes off more as a diary entry than as a “leave ‘em speechless” proclamation. Even though he says “There’s some people who gon’ need this,” it seems like Pillsbury himself may be the only one really needing this song to exist.

The single’s cover shows just the upper portion of the artist’s face against a white background. Hovering above him, however, is what looks like a silver halo. The song’s overall message thus gets lost in this image, as the statements get tossed between being self-glorifying and claiming innocence against these soft aggressors. 

“For the People in the Back” is ultimately one of ROLE MODEL’s weaker tracks. While his confidence in the song is commendable, it’s just not presented in the most mature way.

Pillsbury has a lot of potential as a rising artist, but this song is not one of the tracks that defines that potential.

Contact Skylar De Paul at [email protected]. Tweet her at @skylardepaul.