There are a few adjectives that catch the eye when something’s being described to you - punchy, bright, beaming - and on first listen, that’s what sticks out.
Every instrumental pivot is punchy, the overarching energy is bright, vibrant, the works, but these aren’t the thing that makes this song what it is.
That’s not to downplay the very impressive amalgam of instrumentation, either. That’s what makes the song bright. What makes the song earnest and balladic is the message conveyed in the lyrics.
Written in one of Melbourne’s many lockdowns, this song addresses that warped sense of time, but also with the recognition that things are going well.
The title ‘Onward’ doesn’t reflect a physical journey, but one where you continue going onward (in time) to a hypothetical ‘you’, which is songwriter Nic Schwarz’s ‘self’.
It’s almost a lyrical subversion of indie pop tropes and you’d be forgiven for considering it as such, given how slick the song itself is. However, once you take the time to dig in to what the song’s addressing, it really comes to light.
In Schwarz’s own words, “the track itself builds and builds throughout the song, all leading up to that final moment of blissful release and the feeling of “I’m gonna make it.
“Onward reminds me that time is constantly moving us toward our next big break, our next lover, turning us into the person we want and need to be.”
There may be a general lack of optimism, but a song that takes a positive spin on the whacked out affect that lockdowns have on our perception of time is a nice surprise.
What Telescreen have done here, works. It just works!