John Smith’s Headlong

Patrick O'Brien May 31, 2017 0

 

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Friday 19th May saw the release of Headlong the second single and title track from John Smith’s upcoming fifth studio album. Headlong begins with a beautiful acoustic motif, a characteristic often featured with John Smith songs and something that has made him an inspiration to many singer/songwriters alike. Headlong is underpinned by Smith’s wonderful, gravelly John Martyn-like vocal tone, something that wasn’t used enough in his previous album Great Lakes. What is most commendable about this song is the clear effort to move past the confines of a folk singer/songwriter. The gentle electronic sounds provided by the keyboard (particularly in the chorus), and the gospel style backing singing are a few points to note. Smith has achieved a diversified sound whilst maintaining his identity, something that many artists struggle with. The same weekend as the Spotify release, Smith released a video of a live performance of Headlong recorded in Barcelona. Even without keyboards, drums and backing singers the song sounded fulfilled- the natural of acoustics of the room intensifying the performance. It seemed to epitomise John Smith as an artist; an unsigned singer/songwriter playing small, intimate gigs for the love of playing and so keyboards and backing singers hardly matter. Ultimately, Headlong is not experimental enough to alienate Smith’s current fan base yet, experimental enough to create something different and interesting. The problem with this single is not the song itself but how it should wrestle the attention from the brilliant Salty and Sweet and There is a Stone from the previous Great Lakes album. Nevertheless, Headlong seems to get better with time and so, based on the evidence of the first two singles, the album should be eagerly anticipated come the 30th June.

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