Kobara – Life Is On Your Side
Dublin based songwriter finds bittersweet inspiration in the wake of tragedy on astounding new single.
Kobara is an artist who has crammed a vast amount of experience into a relatively short career and learned much about himself and his craft in the process. ‘Life Is On Your Side’ sees this talented singer-songwriter call on all of that knowledge to make sense of a very tragic event.
Keith O’Brien (Kobara) began his musical journey with the Irish language band Seo Linn in 2013. The group quickly found success and had amassed a colossal 32 million youtube views before the release of their first album (‘Solas’) in 2017.
Since then, Kobara has begun a very promising solo career, which runs concurrently with the band, and has distinguished himself with a slew of well-received releases. His style is centered around indie-folk and EDM, and he has used this platform to document and dissect his own personal journey.
As a songwriter, Kobara has earned a reputation for his emotional lyrics and his willingness to pour his heart into a song. Being open to this level can be healing when it comes to matters of the heart (Addict To Your Love) or the complexities of one’s inner machinations (I Never So Alive). It can also help in some way while trying to process the passing of a friend.
‘Life Is On Your Side’ is a song that addresses such a passing, but in a manner that searches for meaning, and that looks for reasons to push on in joyful remembrance, in spite of regret.
At this point of his career, it is clear Kobara has mastered the mechanics of a punchy EDM track, and also the physics involved in manipulating that sound into matching the tone of the lyrical subject matter. He uses that talent to great effect here. The opening guitar progression is at first upbeat, but the vocal direction of the lyrics changes the vibe.
“How could we know the good if we never knew bad?”, Kobara’s shimmering vocal rings true with fragile and emotional sincerity that gives a particular gravitas to the song, given the real-life reasoning behind it being written. Sitting alongside Keiths beautifully rendered voice is some top-drawer musicianship and production. The instrumental is perfectly measured and, as the piece moves along, draws emotion from the listener like a needle.
The chorus bursts into life with a punchy and hopeful refrain which is, tragically, cut short with Kobara’s crushing lamentation “Just wish I’d said that to you in time”. There is some powerful emotional weight to this composition, and so much praise must be given to its author for his willingness to pour such honesty into a song.
The meaning behind the track is solidified with the strong lyrical plea of ‘live as you go’, reminding us of just how fleeting life is and just how easy life is taken away. Having said that, this song isn’t a tear-jerker, but a poignant and defiant call to help those in difficulty to find their light.
Kobara has harnessed that some pretty heavy emotions here to create a composition that is so open, honest, and devoid of pretension, that it gives the listener a peek into the very soul of the artist. It’s a special thing when a musician can create something that cleanses both the artist and the listener with heartfelt sincerity. ‘Life Is On Your Side’ does just that, and in doing so acts as a beautiful tribute to his fallen friend.
Special praise must be given to this song’s accompanying video where dancer Emphis beautifully interprets the singers’ words. Directed and choreographed by Emphis herself, it is a wonderful companion to a wonderful song.