Dark Light

David Kushner, a masterful storyteller in the pop realm, has given us an opulent musical banquet to feast on over the years. His songs, forged in the crucible of authentic human experience, straddle a broad emotional gamut that’s as diverse as the notes on a piano. With tracks like the heart-rending “Miserable Man,” the smoky introspection of “Cigarettes,” and the stark vulnerability of “Dead Man,” Kushner weaves the unfiltered reality of existence into relatable pop anthems.

He’s also a seasoned navigator of love’s tumultuous seas, mapping the journey with songs like “Look Back & Laugh” and “Cannon Beach,” that tumble between playful nostalgia and poignant heartache. Then there’s “Burn” and “Mr. Forgettable,” brazen and unforgiving, a testament to the grittier, darker side of life.

His palette is vibrant and diverse, but the defining track that adds the finishing stroke to his artistic landscape is “Daylight,” a sweeping, optimistic ballad that takes us from darkness to hope, bidding adieu to despair and welcoming the novo dawn of a new day.

So let’s get into it. From “Cannon Beach” to “Daylight,” here are the Top 8 David Kushner Songs Ranked, from Worst to Best.

8. Cannon Beach

David Kushner presents us with an indie pop track that’s as dreamy as it is melancholic, an ode to life’s fleeting moments, regrets and journeys. The song deconstructs the simplicity of life, making a pilgrimage to Cannon Beach sound almost spiritual. It elaborates on the potency of choices we make or don’t make, serving as a reminder of life’s transience and our constant battle with change. Kushner’s use of the “one, two, one, two, three” count in sets a playful overtone that contrasts with the song’s deeper, serious undertone. A noteworthy point in the song is Kushner’s mention of driving to the coast with your mom, taking the long way home. It adds a personal, nostalgic edge to the track, highlighting underlying themes of home, heritage, and the people we share our lives with. Ultimately, “Cannon Beach” might not be Kushner’s best, but it sure packs a punch.

7. Look Back & Laugh

It is an unflinching exploration of how the pursuit of personal dreams can often clash with the needs of a relationship, leading to an impasse that forces a difficult choice. This melancholy pop tune sees Kushner grappling with the end of a love narrative—one that took root in Portland—and the stark divergence of the paths chosen by each party.

Look Back & Laugh manages to encapsulate the hard-fought struggle to accept the trajectory of a love that could have been, but was ultimately not meant to. It serves as a poignant ode to the heartbreak of leaving a shared romance behind and the hope for future connection, even if just to reminisce and find humor in past shared experiences. With his compelling lyrics and melodic prowess, Kushner has crafted a heartfelt anthem for those navigating the rough waters of love’s aftermath.

6. Cigarettes

It’s a mournful reassurance that even after someone’s departure, their essence lingers on in the most events of things and actions. The core of the song talks about how the protagonist uses the act of smoking as a coping mechanism to fill the void left behind, and how this action becomes a sort of ritual to keep the memory alive. Throughout the song, Kushner’s melancholic vocals bring life to this narrative of loss, grief, and longing – a testament to his songwriting prowess and emotional depth.

5. Miserable Man

Kushner paints a vivid picture of a small-town man trapped within the confines of his circumstances, yearning for a life beyond his reach. The anthem of a ‘miserable man’ echoes his daily battle, a struggle that resonates with many out there.

The narrative arc in the lyrics progresses from despair to hope, as eventually, the protagonist manages to build the life he always wanted. Kushner beautifully encapsulates the contrast between the gloom of the past and the gratitude for the present, suggesting that perseverance can conquer even the most miserable circumstances. The repeated refrain of being a ‘miserable man’ serves as a reminder of where he was, even as he’s emerged stronger and better. Miserable Man, therefore, is not just a song, it’s a testament to the human spirit’s resilience.

4. Dead Man

The song emphasizes the struggles and the aftermath of personal wars that often go unheard and unseen. With each verse, you can’t help but feel the rawness of Kushner’s vulnerability. This track is all about contradiction and polarity—it’s grappling with identity, loss, yearning, and resilience. The “dead man” metaphor is heartrendingly potent, suggesting both defeat and endurance.

The recurring reference to September suggests a pivotal moment or a painful memory, framed with an almost masochistic desire for old tribulations—his ‘old salvation’. The “beauty hidden in the gore” line is a powerful contradiction in itself, expressing an unconventional aesthetic found amidst chaos. Kushner lays bare the often-ignored truth that pain, loss, and strife are the crucibles where resilience is born. Overall, “Dead Man” by David Kushner straddles the line between melancholy and hope, serving as a personal anthem for those who’ve faced their inner demons and emerged stronger.

3. Burn

The song is a fiery indictment of a past lover, a compelling narrative of hurt, betrayal and ultimately, liberation. It’s not just a break-up song but an empowering testament to survival, resilience, and the transformative power of pain.

Kushner’s lyrics depict a narrator who refuses to play the victim. They’ve survived something painful and emerged stronger, more self-aware. The recurring imagery of ‘Burn’ serves as a poignant metaphor – the narrator burns, but this is not a destruction, it’s a catharsis, a rebirth from the ashes. The lyrics challenge the listener, asking them not just to sympathize but to recognize the strength in vulnerability, the power in enduring and overcoming. As much as it is about a personal reckoning, “Burn” is also a larger commentary on stepping out of the shadows and reclaiming one’s individuality in the face of adversity.

2. Mr. Forgettable

Forgettable” by David Kushner is a haunting introspection that tugs at the heartstrings. The song narrates a journey of a man grappling with memory loss and a fading identity, a process that is deeply affecting his relationships. As his recognizable traits dissolve, he’s left feeling disconnected and disoriented in an environment that was once so familiar to him. Intriguingly, he perceives his old and new self in conflict, the former tucked away while the latter is out there wrestling with unfamiliarity. He yearns for his loved ones to understand his struggle and to remember him for who he once was. Driven by a combination of guilt, confusion, and longing, he questions his own reality, pleading with those around him to have patience and to remember him, even when he can’t remember himself. All of this is eloquently encapsulated in the song’s poignant refrain: “Hello, hello, do you know me? I’m called Mr. Forgettable”. A heartbreaking exploration of forgetfulness, not just in a literal sense, but also metaphorically, in the fickleness of love and the transient nature of human connections.

1. Daylight

The lyrics portray the artist grappling with past pain yet striving towards the light – the daylight. The song is less about sunrise as it is about self-awakening, about coming face-to-face with personal demons and having the courage to move past them. It operates on a sense of loss, but is ultimately a salute to resilience. The everyday scenarios Kushner portrays, draw the listener into the narrative, fostering a quiet intimacy. Punctuated by Kushner’s emotive vocals against a backdrop of upbeat pop-rock instrumentation, “Daylight” proves to be more than just a song. It’s Kushner’s letter from the darkness, an invitation for all to face their fears and head towards the daylight. So, take his hand, listener, and step into the light.