Saturday, January 03, 2009

#78 Ryan Cabrera, "Say"

Now I'm livin'
In a beautiful town
There ain't no people
But they love my sound

I was furious with Ryan the first time I heard this song.

Ryan returns, great news! He's written a great handclap-featuring song opening, even better! He's written an amazing verse, too? A lazy day mid-tempo almost jangly acoustic guitar-but-produced thing that conveys an unrushed sense of singer-songwriter ability I didn't expect him to demonstrate after his departure from a major label and try-hard makeover, that has an easy and deserved confidence to it? You're kidding! Could he actually have created a song I can use to win over people who might not have liked him in the past? Well, if this bridge is anything to go by, yes--how catchy, but well-done! Way to go, Ryan! Oh no...

That would be the point where I heard the chorus of "Say" for the first time. For months and months, I couldn't get over the fact that, in comparison to the rest of the song (which also features an excellent floating-but-fast middle 8), the first part of the chorus felt lazy. Where was the craftsmanship and effort that had gone into the rest of the song? How could he suddenly have gotten lazy (in the bad sense) for the most important part of the song? Did he think that since every other element of the song was top quality songwriting he could avoid worrying about one part? Maybe the logic was that the simple, vocally uncomplicated feel of the first part of the chorus is a needed respite from the rest of the song, but given that the rest of the song is intricately simple and deceptively relaxed in sound, I don't think it was all that needed.

I gave in in the end, though. I still think that going on the surprisingly mature level of songwriting he displays throughout the rest of "Say" that Ryan could have done better, could have come up with something to take this song from great to masterpiece--and no joke, it's one brilliant beginning to a chorus away from being that--but I've learned to live with the song we have. "Say," a song for sunny road trips, does not represent the first indication that Ryan could be or is a great songwriter, but it is the first sign that he just might avoid simply growing up and instead mature, in the best possible way.

Find it on: The Mood Under Water


Paul said...

hell hath no fury like a postergirl spurned by a mediocre chorus...

Poster Girl said...

Truer words were never spoken, Paul.