Ann Arbor’s City Lines debuts video for ‘Different This Year’

The City Lines perform today (June 21) at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Make Music Day event.

The City Lines

If you need a little serotonin to start off your summer, look no further than the City Lines — particularly with their new sun-splashed music video for the power-pop ballad “Different This Year.”

In fact, you just might extract quite a lot of serotonin from this jangly uptempo rocker, with its ear worm chorus hooking you in and making it irresistible to sing along. The band’s founder, singer and guitarist Pat Deneau’s potent congeniality and down-to-earth charisma are perfectly captured by the camera’s lens, whether he’s driving his pickup truck around the rural swathes of Washtenaw County, strumming riffs beside M-14 or on stage in front of an amped crowd inside the legendary Blind Pig.

Watch The City Lines’ music video for “Different This Year”

You can glimpse in the video the distinct patterns along Deneau’s guitar strap and the pin on his collar paying homage to his Chippewa roots, while the sleeveless denim vest certainly echoes his punk rock youth.

But Deneau actually took a decade off from music and songwriting to pursue an admittedly unique career and calling as a firefighter. When he formed the Ann Arbor-based City Lines in 2019, he found himself drawn toward the sounds of power-pop, transforming weary journal entries and contemplative poetry penned from the front seat of a fire engine into endearing lyrics full of self reflection and determination.

Now backed by a stellar ensemble, Deneau’s been able to lean hard into influences like the Gin Blossoms and Replacements, bringing songs to life that are both catchy and cathartic. The City Lines have recorded two full-length albums, including this spring’s Analog Memories.

“Different This Year” is an adrenaline-boosting tune that renders undaunted hope and optimism in the face of an otherwise disenchanting status quo slog. It’s honest and humbling, and it’s not giving up — just like Denau’s truck and his infectious disposition, it’s all about moving forward.

The City Lines perform today (June 21) at 5 p.m. in downtown Ann Arbor, part of the Ann Arbor District Library’s Make Music Day event.

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  • Jeff Milo
    Jeff Milo is the host of "MI Local" on 101.9 WDET. He's a longtime music journalist documenting the Michigan scene for 20 years.