Life Goes On — and so does Oliver Tree’s music career


Jjipop, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Artist Oliver Tree releases a remix of his hit song, “Life Goes On.”

Elena Eaton, Lead Copy Editor

Known for his signature bowl cut and pink sunglasses, which lend credence to his studio album title Ugly is Beautiful, Oliver Tree has created a name for himself synonymous with eccentricity in the music industry. The bell-bottom-wearing singer from Santa Cruz, California was signed to Atlantic Records, which also manage artists Absofacto, Bruno Mars, Cardi B and Bazzi, after the success of his single “When I’m Down” in 2017. Despite some disagreement between Tree and Atlantic Records over the production and audience of his music, the artist has not failed to quickly release music to eager fans, all with characteristically outlandish covers and music videos that keep fans guessing.

Tree’s “Life Goes On” was initially released in July of 2020 on the album Ugly is Beautiful. The album cover features Tree holding balloons with flames and a burning structure behind him. Fans weren’t too sure of the significance behind this particular imagery, but what they were sure of was their strong positive reaction to this oddly covered album. Debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums Chart, #1 on iTunes and Apple Music Alternative Albums Chart, #3 on iTunes Albums overall and Top 15 on Billboard 200, it’s clear that Tree’s supporters were impressed.  

Tree explains that Ugly is Beautiful is like a story and each track a chapter. People make mistakes, and Tree’s album is an amalgamation of failure, disappointment, acceptance and resilience. The title track, “Life Goes On,” is a poppy, if relatively slow-paced, address to relationships turned south. In an interview with Genius Lyrics, Tree stated in explanation of the first verse, “Don’t let anyone treat you wrong / Don’t let anyone control you / And definitely don’t let anyone stop you from chasing your dreams. / Life is short and your energy is precious so do not waste it on toxic people.”

Though the opening electronic instrumentals are fairly reminiscent of AJR’s music, the message behind the familiar chorus of this track “Life goes on and on and on and/ on and on and/ on and on and on and/ On and on and on/ On and on and on…[and so on]” has a uniquely true yet often forgotten message.

“When things don’t work out in life you need to keep moving on./ Whether you like it or not, life goes on with or without you,” Tree sings.

Now, nearly a year later, Tree has released the Alok Remix of this track. “Life Goes On (Alok Remix)” dropped Oct. 8 of this year on Apple Music and has a much more upbeat, dubstep-esque style that is just enough unlike EDM to allow for enjoyable listening both at a party or in the solace of your bedroom at home.  

The song opens at a faster tempo and with the addition of strong, reverberating bass chords that build the intensity of the first verse. As the song progresses, multiple fast-paced beats are added to the mix, culminating at the end of the first iteration of the chorus. Most remixes are sped up to sound like “dance music” so this increase in tempo is nothing new, but the effect of increasing speed is deeper than surface-level. 

In the original version, the slow, laid back music contributed to the lyrics a sense of acceptance. Yes, sometimes things don’t go as planned, but life goes on so there’s no reason to get upset. The Alok Remix, by increasing the tempo and introducing tension-building beats, contributes a different theme to Oliver Tree’s lyricism. In the remix, the accelerating pace adds salt to Tree’s cutting words “Babe, you’re too controlling / I’ma feed you to the wolves / When you get nasty, back at me / But, baby, don’t distract me.” The tracks take a different approach to Tree’s intended message of disappointment and decision to change and this is clearly reflected in, and to an extent caused by, the change in tempo.

As a fan of Oliver Tree’s 90s-inspired whine-rock, I enjoyed this remix more than the original version. “Life Goes On (Alok Remix)” is catchy, easy to listen to and satisfies that something-to-be-desired left by the original“Life Goes On.” If you enjoy Oliver Tree’s music, or if you’re looking for an upbeat track to get your blood flowing, I recommend checking out Oliver Tree’s “Life Goes On (Alok Remix).”