2017 SOTY Write-Up: North Pole ft. Austin Feinstein – Injury Reserve

Listen: YouTube (Official Video)

After releasing two well-received mixtapes in the same amount of years, both helping to garner a relatively large cult following, Injury Reserve released “North Pole,” as their first taster of music in 2017. But rather than celebrating the success they’ve acquired, the trio seems to be anxious about it in this track. With icy, sparse acoustic guitar chords and a pitched down vocal phrase exuding regret and sadness, Parker Corey’s production is the most somber and distant an Injury track has ever been. The spacious drums make the cold climate of the song even colder which is visualized in the accompanying music video showcasing the members wearing heavy jackets unfit for the shoot location, Los Angeles, with fake snow pouring all around them. Again, Injury Reserve should be celebrating their well-deserved accomplishments, yet even moving to La La Land can’t purge the cold that can come with success. “North Pole” is the group’s metaphor for being on top, but that’s also where it’s the coldest and the loneliest. The group’s two MC’s both rap about their relationship with old friends in the context of new success, but from different angles. Stepa flows over the beat with remorse as he realizes many of his old acquaintances never truly wanted him. Ritchie dwells over what could have been with a deceased friend but in a cathartic manner that seems a bit healthier than his partner’s method. The hook is handled by guest Austin Feinstein whose regretful tone captures the mood beautifully. He cements the sentiment that Ritchie and Stepa introduce on their verses singing of, ‘plastic confidence,’ and ‘spiral twists.’ Injury Reserve delivers an emotive track in, “North Pole,” that genuinely sheds light on their current situation, and makes for one of the group’s finest songs to date and one of the best of the year.

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