Second Choice – “The Brighter The Burn” / “Fly Away” Feat. Dimi De San

 Second Choice – “The Brighter The Burn” / “Fly Away” Feat. Dimi De San

Second Choice – “The Brighter The Burn” / “Fly Away” Feat. Dimi De San – Singles Review

It’s been a minute or two since we last had Second Choice on our pages…last time we did, it was to check out a single called “Never Enough” back at the end of 2022.  We’ve had the pleasure to listening to a few other tunes over the years as well, like “Fade Away,” and “Sad” featuring Nadja Fridström.  All of these songs come from the mind of Fredrik Lindström, the main songwriter that guides Second Choice – and even though we’ve only had a relatively small sample size of his work to-date, we’ve learned that his range of interests and influences is undeniably vast.  Which is a great thing at the end of the day, it gives an artist like Fredrik a widespread canvas to work with, and makes things just an unpredictable on the listening side of the speakers…we never really know what he’s gonna come up with next.  Ultimately I dig that unpredictable nature he’s got workin’ for him – that’s the good part.  The flipside is that when you’re looking to create unique art and try a varied range of things, you can experience more dramatic peaks and valleys inside a body of work…or even worse, risk proving that old saying of ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ to be true if you’re not too careful.  That’s why the majority of artists/bands settle into whatever their thing is, as opposed to continually trying something new…there’s simply too much risk involved in switching things up all the time when it comes to how the masses will consume the work.  The true artists out there like Fredrik, know that pass or fail, they can rest on the fact that they still held true to their own ideals and didn’t compromise their vision in order to please a bunch of people out there on the internet.  Last I recall, there’s no pleasing everyone anyhow…so do right by yourself; that’s really all that’s ever going to matter…or in Lindström’s case, don’t change how you’re always changing.

I’ve always gotta be honest with the artists/bands I’m listening to, and to my audience as well of course.  I’d be on the side of thinking that these two new singles from Second Choice have probably gotten away from Lindström a little bit more than they should have.  Of the two tracks I’ve got here, I suppose I’m more in favor of “The Brighter The Burn,” but it’s pretty close to splitting hairs this time around.  When it comes to “The Brighter The Burn,” I feel like I can at least get behind it on a conceptual level…Fredrik was going for something more akin to an 80s horror movie type-theme, and that certainly comes across.  It’s not too far removed from something like you’d hear from your old VHS-tape days watching stuff like Rosemary’s Baby, but not quite fueled by the same scathing conviction you’d find in something like how the Fantomas chose to take on these kinds of themes on The Director’s Cut years ago.  The music is part gothic, part mysterious, and in many ways, if you were to judge “The Brighter The Burn” on that alone, it’d likely get a passing grade from most folks listening.  The video gives it a bit of an extra advantage when you think about the kind of films that inspired a song like this.  People should dig that overall I’d think…it has that visually gritty, lo-fi look to it, emulating the style of visuals that ended up being a large inspiration for how things sound on this single.  Where things get complicated, perhaps too complicated for mass consumption, is in the incongruent structure of the song itself, which seems to wander through your speakers like a ghost in the hallway, searching for something to cling onto.  As in, it’s gonna be very hard for the average everyday listener to follow along with, and we can feel that’s purposeful, by design.  Sometimes that can be a major turn-off for listeners…if they feel like something is aiming above their head, they’re more often than not likely to simply let it fly by and not make too much of an attempt to figure things out or find that reason to listen.  That’s the thing about art though – it’s not gonna be for everyone all of the time…and again, as its creator, Fredrik has no real choice but to anticipate that kind of reaction, and be prepared to live with it.  I felt like Dimi De San was a decent fit into “The Brighter The Burn” when you consider the context and what originally inspired it.  All-in-all, I think she does a decent job with material that’s very far from accessible…as listeners, we have to look at a track like this more as a piece of art, as opposed to something we’d put on to listen to every single day.  They achieved the objective they set out with…but I don’t think knowing that makes this any more of an easy listening experience in the long run – “The Brighter The Burn” will still challenge every set of ears that listens.

Not only do I have a responsibility to speak the truth, but I kinda gotta paint things with the same brush too, know what I mean?  It was just yesterday that I gave someone shit about using the word ‘fly’ where it didn’t really make sense to use, and cited how often this happens in songwriting.  Second Choice has come along to prove the point I was making, adding in the line “fly from the pain” into this second single I’ve got here – but again, like I was saying…what does that really mean?  What I’m getting at, is that there’s definitely a more substantial and tangible way of saying the exact same thing, without having to resort to what’s essentially become a cliché in songwriting.  It becomes a case of ‘we get what you mean’ without something really meaning anything literally at all, you follow me?  The reason as to why that is, is simply due to how many times we’ve come across ‘fly’ being used as a descriptive way of saying something else – but whatever that something else would be, would be more unique & effective, at least in my opinion.  To be fair to Fredrik, I hear about a hundred songs a day…when we’re in our own creative bubbles, we don’t tend to realize how many other people outside of it are doing the exact same thing.  So…yeah…obviously this is a bit of a problematic way to look at things considering that the single is called “Fly Away,” but it’s an important aspect of songwriting…people connect with what’s real more than they would to something that seems more contrived or crafted, and it’s something Lindström should at least be conscious of.  As far as the rest of the lyrics and the theme is concerned, I like what I see on paper…there’s poetry and real emotion behind the rest of the words for sure.  That being said, I didn’t feel like the issues with “Fly Away” stopped at its main theme…this song ended up being a classic example of the disconnect that can occur between writing and performance.  The vocal melody is so loosely structured that Dimi De San has the impossible task of trying to make the words fit some kind of pattern or metering…and in the end, I’m not so convinced that was able to happen.  I gotta call things as I hear’em, as I always do…”Fly Away” drifts far from the mark, and further away from what listeners are able to stick with.  You can hear the struggle to create some kind of vocal melody occurring right from the very first verse…and yeah…I just don’t think things got much easier as the song carried on.  I really like some of the layers and the vocals that are in the background…I think the piano added into the music is fantastic too…but in the end, I think there’s a bit too much going on in every part of “Fly Away” for each element added in to have its opportunity to sparkle and shine as it potentially should.  De San can sing…there’s not really any doubt about that – but even considering that, I’m not sure that she’s the right fit for this particular song…it just feels like there’s both way too much added in, and still something missing to tie everything together as well.  Musically, I think there’s some genuine potential there…but I feel like the melody we hear is squandered a bit this time around…”Fly Away” seems to soar past what could have worked in favor of overcomplicating things too much…and that becomes a real hard sell to the court of public opinion.  Like I said…I think I can advocate for “The Brighter The Burn” as being the better of the two singles, because thematically we see & hear how that all ties together.  “Fly Away” is a looser construct & seems to lack the kind of hooks that are gonna bring people back to listen to it twice.  The videos are both good…that’s a genuine positive…but I think Second Choice needs to look at these songs more objectively and find a way for them to be as audibly convincing as they are visually.

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