Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙃𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙈𝙚 - 𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙅𝙤𝙮𝙘𝙚
Charles finds simplicity is the key, but if only it were as easy as that...
Hold me, my heart will dance. Set your spirit free. You just let it go. This could be all you need. This could be all you need. The complete lyrics of Hold Me by Valentine Joyce. Nothing more. This could be ALL you need... Let's dive in.
Valentine Joyce is unusually a father-daughter combo. Pat, the father, is in soul control of the music and the writing, while Kate, the daughter sings. This whole idea brings a fondness and warmth to the song, I feel. The style is a difficult one to describe. It is acoustic, yet synth based. It feels organic yet automatic. It has a retro feel to it, yet is vibrant and fresh - something with which I am familiar.
Aside from its somewhat classic sound, I would like first to talk about the melody. It is drifting and sea-like, awash with reverb and subtle delays, yet it has an immediacy that clangs a bell like a smell from one's childhood. It sounds like it has always been around. The proof is in my girlfriend. She had heard it playing several times but hadn't consciously listened. I played it to to her properly weeks later and she was convinced it was a classic from the 80s that everyone knows, and had told herself she "always loved that one". Funny how the mind plays tricks. This is an extremely difficult feat, to write something that sounds like it has been around forever, without ripping off an old song. I too attempt this technique - admittedly unconsciously.
The whole song has a four-to-the-floor beat, which drives it through to its completion, dispelling any mud and lag that would otherwise have held it back. Despite this insistent force, at no point does it feel attacking or aggressive. Except for one brief interlude, the song consists of only three chords, repeating every five bars. Yes, five. On first listening I remember thinking this fifth bar was awkward and unnatural, but very soon I came to realise its vital purpose. It emphasises the most important line of the song - "This could be all you need". Bar five is a duplicate of the fourth, and emphasises the line further. It also pricks the ears with a welcome abnormality.
After a brief while, a floating and rather mesmeric synth arpeggio joins in the order. It fills the gaps and warms the room. It compliments the melody like a robotic secretary types a dictation. The 16th notes (semiquavers) add to the propulsion of the underlying kick. This synth flows both through and around each and every sound, and feels like a hundred fireflies.
We are taken next to an instrumental section, where said synth takes the lead - at least for the time being. It is joined by its family. Multiple electronic goodies play together and rise to the occasion. They dance on top of the mountain like happy little elves. But! A much welcome sadistic little axe wielder comes along to crash the party, before it turns too saccharine. He pokes and prods with fire, sounding much like U2's The Edge - less 80s delay, more 90s crunch. The smirker says Jump. The elves say How high...
Wonderland's shindig is joined once again by the glorious melodies of Miss Joyce. The whole piece has become by this point a wide and dreamlike soundscape. The repeating mantra sucking us in like a vortex. Less an invite, more an obligation.
One aspect I do love about Mr. Joyce's composition is his choice of the minor key. Without this, the song would be lacking in depth and intrigue. It would be too plain and too sweet.
I am very much looking forward to their next venture together.
Listen to 𝙃𝙤𝙡𝙙 𝙈𝙚 HERE!
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