Dijon: “Coogie”

Dijon’s 2021 breakout Absolutely was a sublime culmination of qualities that distinguished him from the start: There was, of course, his pleading croon, a Motown-meets-mountaineer rasp deployed most often in the service of a wistful remembrance or a strained appeal to a faltering lover; the unerring pop sensibility and penchant for melody; the endearing affinity for the grittier side of things. All these elements are firmly in place on his new single “Coogie,” but with a new, skillfully calibrated intensity. As on Absolutely, Dijon seems once again to invite listeners to a late-night session in a smoke-filled room, the twangy feedback of guitar amps being adjusted and strings tested. He stitches a tattered melody around a stuttering guitar riff, his voice still worn, apparently, from the previous night’s shouting match. Like some of Dijon’s best songs, “Coogie” has a way of feeling both cacophonous and incredibly spare, swathing his voice in a wall of roiling sound at times and denuding it at others. “When it’s bad I just push it inside/Is it bad that I just put it inside?” he mewls weakly, on the comedown after a lover’s quarrel. By the final refrain, it’s as if someone’s cranked up the gain on the entire room. “Well, I’ll do my best to bear it!” he wails, and you have no choice but to believe him.