Annie DiRusso – “Jonathan”/”Don’t Swerve” – Singles Review
There’s not a day that has gone by since I first heard Annie’s music that I haven’t looked forward to more. For the record, that wasn’t too long ago – it was in January of this same year we’re in – but still, credit where credit is due, I play Annie’s previous singles “Gone” and “Blue Walls” here all the time at the studio relentlessly…it’s been nearly a full year and not a solitary second of her last songs have worn out for me in the slightest. I predicted then, and I remain confident in that prediction…that Annie is born to be a true star in music; that familiar shiver that flew down my spine as “Jonathan” began and she started to sing. I said it back then and it’s certainly still true now – she’s absolutely one-of-a-kind amazing and there’s not even a question in my mind that Annie DiRusso is one of my own personal favorite artists that I’ve had the privilege to listen to since starting this online magazine way-back-when.
Honestly. Find me a flaw in what Annie’s music and I’ll show you two ears that don’t work quite right.
I don’t know if she’s working on a full-album for sure or not, but at this point, going 4/4 with not just good singles but GREAT ones – she may as well label it a greatest hits record if/when it eventually comes out. Annie! Lady-friend! No joke sister – you are absolutely remarkable and an incredible talent.
Conceptually, she’s tied her latest two singles together in a theme of unrequited love, setting her sights on “Jonathan” and expressing her thoughts, feelings, and emotions beautifully in this first of the two halves. Let me be completely crystal clear as I can possibly be – it is extremely RARE to find such a triple-threat of talent like this within one artist…she can play, write, and sing at such a high caliber that it’s truly breathtaking and would seriously be impossible to choose which aspect of her music you like or love more. The balance she has an artist, the understanding of her material, the special bond she has with words and her songwriting…it’s literally hypnotic and mesmerizing to listen to Annie’s music; I sit here 100% still and marvel at it, honestly – I’m fascinated by the mind-blowing art she creates. The strangest part is that sometimes I even laugh out loud when I’m listening on those first experiences – not because anything is funny – but because it’s unimaginably impressive, each and every time…like to the point where I swear Annie is superhuman or at the very least built of the best of us all. Hearing the softer-side of her on “Jonathan” was exceptional…and I mean, part of me SHOULD have expected that – I know when I hear the real deal and ever since hearing her first two singles I’ve been rock-solid sure that everything we’ll ever hear from Annie will always be well worth our time. Still…that laugh comes out of me from the pure shock of just how amazing she can be – and the moment she moved through the first verse into her expressive vocalizations without words and they slid smoothly right into my soul, I was like, HERE SHE GOES – SHE’S DONE IT AGAIN. Listen to the words, listen to the music, listen to the pace, tone, atmosphere – LISTEN to the indescribable emotion in her voice and how immaculate this connection Annie has to her words, feelings, and music is! All I’m saying…is if “Jonathan” is a real dude out there somewhere…and I’d assume by the depth of the connection you can hear from Annie on this song that he IS…I mean brother-man…you’d be a fool to not give love like this a shot – wake up! Guitars sparkle, the bass is essential, the words are brilliantly detailed, heartfelt, & sincere – everything is as beautiful, identifiable, and captivating as we’ve come to know DiRusso’s music to be at its best. And yet, just like in the past, no matter how great any one element could ever be – you just can’t take your ears off of the main star on the microphone – she’s got one of the best voices in music out there right now and some of the smartest instincts on how to use it in insightfully innovative ways that connect right to our hearts & minds. She describes the push/pull of love gorgeously here in the sweet imagery of her lyrics – and even things like finding a way to make a word like ‘unrequited’ become part of a hook is seriously impressive…that ain’t easy to work into a song smoothly, but that’s exactly what Annie is capable of & so much more. The way she phrases her thoughts, the pace & patience she takes with her vocals, the boldness of her emotions when she puts the power in, or the uniqueness of her melodies when the energy of a song like “Jonathan” becomes its most intimate & isolated…it’s all straight-up stunning, full-stop. For the record, I had zero doubt she’d come back with more incredible music…but I’ll definitely admit it’s totally a guilty pleasure of mine to hear just how right a prediction can be sometimes – “Jonathan” was only more confirmation of what I’d known all along – Annie DiRusso is 100% next-level. The powerful chorus of “Jonathan” doesn’t even have a single word in it – she doesn’t even need words to be awesome – how awesome is THAT? Annie carries the entire melody with vocalizations and singing that is nothing short of a stunning moment in time you’ll wish will never end.
I bet you think I’ve run out of adjectives and ways to describe Annie DiRusso’s music at this point; but let me tell ya – she digs deep to create focused & meaningful music that matters and does so consistently – the least I can do is pay my respects by honoring that effort with an attempt to describe it in the few words I know that’ll get us anywhere close to understanding this superstar of tomorrow. “Don’t Swerve” continues the story – heck, it even finds ANOTHER way to work in ‘unrequited’ into the lyrics brilliantly somehow for the second time in a row – and of course, you get another noteworthy performance from Annie on all-fronts. Listen to the amazing choices she’s making as a singer throughout this song – because that’s what artistic courage sounds like dear readers, dear friends. It’s honestly not even like…man…this is tough to describe…it’s not exactly like she’s taking chances, although she completely IS by any measure – the fact is, she’s just GOT THIS from every possible angle, you feel me? So like, you’ll hear some truly brave writing & vocals from Annie here on “Don’t Swerve,” there’s no doubt about that…it takes tone, technique, and mad talent to do everything she does on this song – but it also takes the mindset and motivation to go after these moments like she is. Does she KNOW that each of these directions she takes with her voice will become another beautifully expressive part of the song when she’s singing it? Honestly, I have NO IDEA – I don’t know that Annie has any idea for sure one way or the other just how great she really is…but she should. My point is that, each of these parts of her song, each variation and new avenue she takes with her voice from the verse to chorus & everything in between from the lead to the background, she’s locked right into the moment; everything comes out sounding so impressively natural and authentic as she transitions throughout “Don’t Swerve.” You never have to worry about whether or not she’ll hit the mark, I guarantee you, she will – and that’s the greatest part about hearing how imaginative and bold she can be in these choices she’s making…you get a sense of comfort in knowing Annie will always get to where she’s going, even in her most ambitious notes & tones, she’s all-pro, all-day, every-day. She brings the sweetness to the surface of this second tune and brightens-up the vibe for ya with a decidedly more soulful Indie/Pop sound driving “Don’t Swerve” – and once more, she’s putting her unfiltered feelings right out there for all to (*cough Jonathan, ahem) hear. The energy is great, love is in the air, and this entire tale of a night spent together trying to figure out WHAT that love entails and could become, is genuinely as badass as it is melodic & sweet. You get a realness from Annie’s lyrics and vocal expressions on this second cut that really reveal a lot of her personality & character, and I love it. I’m tellin’ ya folks – she’s got all the heart & artistic spirit, all the songwriting chops & sincerity to match, all the talent it takes to make it. Underneath all the upbeat sound on “Don’t Swerve,” is a whole set of valid insight and pure emotions that detail just how hard it can be to love someone from afar, especially when afar is actually right in front of someone. Lyrically, she’s nailing it once again. Vocally, I think she went for some really rad moments on this cut that were challenging and she’s nailed every one of’em. Guitar solo is awesome, the main hooks are freakin’ spectacular – AND…right at the end of “Don’t Swerve,” you get a bit of extra sass and attitude from Annie in her words as this story comes to its heartbreaking conclusion.
What. A. Songwriter. Full-stop, period, end of sentence…it really just doesn’t get any better than Annie DiRusso. I have every bit as much confidence in her now as I did in her before if not just slightly more-so because I’m so stoked about these new tunes…but the facts remain the same & unchanged – she could verifiably take over the world one day and you better believe I’ll be in the front row when she does.
Stay up to-date on all-things-Annie at her official homepage at: http://www.anniedirusso.com
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