Dan Weintraub – Singles Review
Thankfully…Dan has made this one easier on me than I’d anticipated. Songs written in tribute of tragedy can put an honest music-reviewer like myself in an awkward situation…I always have empathy, but I also have a responsibility to, as accurately as I can, describe what I hear in the music. Tributes & dedications in general, are songs of such importance that the intentions generally far outweigh the end results, often collapsing under the weight of the emotions, the moment and their own sweet ambitions.
I’m proud to report that Dan has not only beautifully honored the memories of best-friends Janie Chase Cozzi & Mary Harris, who died tragically in a car accident October 8th, 2016 – but he’s done it all in a way that will truly last by creating music and songs that really hold up with solid writing & performances. What you’ll hear in each of these tunes comes across honestly, humbly and sincerely…often as heartbreaking as they are sweet but delivering in-full on the intention of providing the therapeutic comfort that can be provided through his music & lyrics.
Of the three singles I was checking into, I began with the gentle rhythm & flow of “Because Love Lasts Forever” and was immediately pulled into its emotional grip and beautiful atmosphere. Dan has done an absolutely incredible job on the vocals & how they’re paced, how they sound…though there’s sadness spread throughout the lyricism…there are equal parts of inspiration, love and hopefulness; and no matter what part you hear, it all fits the energy and sway of the mood in this song perfectly. While it might be nearly impossible to separate the tragic inspiration that brought these tunes into existence…I think that “Because Love Lasts Forever” does best is serve as that reminder that every moment along the way counts. Each step we take adds-up toward something that can mean everything to someone else…and that sharing in each other’s life experiences will echo in memories forever after…and that’s a beautiful thing. The contrasting mix of hauntingly-beautiful melancholy on “Because Love Lasts Forever,” and how the elements of sweet & sadness combine so perfectly together with gorgeous choices of instrumentation and its careful pacing all brought out the very best from Dan and the crew of ace-musicians that assisted him on this ballad. You feel the connection, you feel the sincerity, you feel the emotion, the questioning, the pain and the memories…it’s a boldly personal tune that sounds honestly like everything you’d ever hope a tribute song to be…raw, melodic, heartfelt & REAL. Not gonna lie to you…it’s a seven-minute-plus long song and I could easily listen to this song all day long for the humble and earnest way Dan has sung these vocals and the beautiful melody he’s written in tribute.
“Janie Like No Other” kind of takes on a sound of what it might have been like to add Ben Folds to the classic R.E.M. lineup, making for a gentle folk/rock sound with incredible piano parts laced in. Regardless of choice…an artist almost helplessly creates their most brilliant moments through tragedy…and even though I know Dan’s made music in his past, I’d be willing to bet these songs have come out sounding as strong as the best he’s ever made. You can feel how important it would have been to get it all ‘right’ from the ideas themselves to the recordings…reading the lyrics you realize the stunning way that Janie had affected the lives of others…you feel the loss but you also feel how special knowing her must have been as well. “Janie Like No Other” as a title alone, says it all. Love the breakdown…extra points to the crisp & clear drumbeats & bass-line…the words come out beautifully, poetically and completely connect to our emotions and empathic nature; everything about “Janie Like No Other” from its sentiment to its performance/recording is stunningly gorgeous…a truly sweet song from every angle.
For a real example of what it takes to be considered a wordsmith in music, check out the incredible job Dan’s done on the final single I’ve got here in review, a song called “Light.” The way these verses flow and the intricate attention to detail that Dan’s put into their metering, pace, emotion, melody and movement is inspiring to listen to. The music is upbeat and perhaps slightly more dynamic in its structure and inclusion of surrounding instruments…the bass again shines completely, the keyboards are excellent once again – and between the multi-layers of vocals and harmonies on “Light” – you’ll experience one of the most memorable melodies you’ll hear to start your year. I try not to be one of those people that sits & waits for their favorite moment of the song to come around…because there’s excellent musicianship and instrumentation, fantastic guitar solos & keyboard work to enjoy along this ride that should not be ignored…however…
…how can you not be incredibly excited about the way they transform this song even further as they add to the chorus heading toward the three-minute mark? Dan Weintraub & the immaculate talent he’s surrounded himself with really bring the most out of this melody in every extraordinary way you’d hope to hear throughout the second half of this song. It started groovin’ & movin’ quickly as the entire song began…but I gotta say, “Light” transitions into and ends on its most spectacular notes – the vocals absolutely nail this melody with everything they’ve got in a highlight performance by all concerned.
In dedicating these songs in tribute to Janie and her best-friend Mary – all players involved in this project should be incredibly proud of the amount of pure emotion and beauty they’ve put on display. Marcus Watkins, Petra Haden, Joe Berardi, Marc Doten, Bill Barrett, J.D. Buhl, Paul Roessler and Dan Weintraub – you’re all heroes to me for pursuing these songs and realizing them with such honesty, passion and skill. You’ve all made music that truly matters here…and memories that will live on forever.
Listen to more of Dan Weintraub’s music at Bandcamp: https://danweintraub.bandcamp.com
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