Out dance musician releases new single and video
by Bradley Donalson
Openly gay and perfectly coifed New York-based pop/dance artist Aiden Leslie drops his new single “I Just Go” and its official music video on YouTube on April 14. The song seems to be a departure from Leslie’s previous songs in tone, if not style, and we were lucky enough to get a preview of both.
Leslie, a transplant to New York City from Ohio, first got into music through the New York nightlife and has transitioned into making a name for himself in both pop and dance as well as the remixes that he works to produce with other artists. He claims that he uses his music almost like diary entries where each song reflects on his personal feelings or events in his life.
His new song, “I Just Go,” is a vulnerable look at learning lessons and making mistakes as well as the struggles of dealing with trying to connect with others. The song shows a softer and slower side to Leslie than his previous singles “Diamond Dreams” or “Worlds Away.” He still utilizes heavy beats and his slightly breathy vocal stylings to give “I Just Go” energy and meaning, but without the driving press of heavy electronic sounds like in “Nobody Said,” we are given a highly polished song that peeks into the life of the singer to see a man dealing with the struggles faced by almost everyone. The repetitive nature of the lyrics and the chorus hammer home the message that he seems to be trying to send to the listener. It’s not surprising that Leslie is making a name for himself touring in major club cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and New York.
The video definitely shows Leslie’s past experience as an actor with a set of scenes showing a relationship and Leslie breaking down. While the reasons for the relationship troubles aren’t obvious from the scenes themselves, the emotions are not hard to pin down. Shame, regret, wanting to walk away from the situation, and losing yourself in distractions are all on display in a way that enhances the song’s message of making mistakes without learning from them.
It also doesn’t hurt that Leslie and the love interest in the video often appear shirtless. The other aspects that are shown in the video such as Leslie in a suit on a beach are more muddling to the message. While he’s the type of man who looks good wet, I can’t help but wonder if that’s the only reason for these portions. Symbolically, it looks as if he is trying to fight against the incoming tides in an ultimately doomed fashion. While this may be feeding into the idea that people might be so stubborn that they try to fight the inevitable, it doesn’t seem to mesh with the concept that the song is trying to get people to realize they should stop such actions and concentrate on building something better for themselves. It seems more confusing than anything else, and as such, it bogs down the video with too much thought and rationalization required. But the video’s elements pull together to create a storyline that works to bring the song into a conversation each person can have about their own choices.
Overall, the song and the video show a new and vulnerable side to Leslie. He makes good on his promise to express himself through his music, as well as try to bring more male voices to the dance floor. More information about Leslie can be found at aidenleslie.com.