A mischievous melody is waiting to greet us at the onset of Y. Dan Rubinstein’s “Farewell, Farewell Adieu,” and in the next three minutes or so, we’ll witness it entwine with a poignant string of lyrics in what can only be described as a truly angelic harmony. The vocal track comes into view not long after the first strands of the instrumental backdrop do, and before we know it, we’re under the hypnotic spell of our leading man, who seems intent on engaging all of our senses with this latest slab of sonic sorcery. Suddenly the rhythm gets a shot of energy, and we’re rocking back and forth with the pendulous strut of a quaint percussive track situated deep in the master mix.
As we drift down the lazy river of tempered melodies, Rubinstein’s voice finds a way to harmonize with everything it comes in contact with. The drums, though stoic and often muted by the more colorful elements in the song, dispense thought-provoking beats in the background, as if to ponder the narrative that is being so artfully unraveled at the forefront of the mix. The groove here is dance able, but synchronizing with its sway is a lot easier said than done. When the strings are kicking up a storm beside Rubinstein’s classy crooning, it’s hard to summon the energy to do anything other than listen intently to their splendid tonality, which is far and away some of the most impeccable (and well-produced) that I’ve come across in a long time.
The chorus slowly churns us with its melancholic purr, but beneath the surface level tension, we discover an ocean of catharsis in Rubinstein’s singing that is just begging for us to notice it. He’s wearing his emotions on his sleeve with us in this moment, getting as raw and real with us as he’s ever been, and on top of this unfiltered vulnerability, there isn’t even a hint of hesitation in his execution. Rubinstein is connecting with his medium in this single, but more importantly than that, he’s capturing the very essence of love without having to rely on the mundane metaphors and pop platitudes that so many of his closest rivals in the mainstream have created entire discographies around.
“Farewell, Farewell Adieu” ends in a whisper, but the void that its larger than life melodies leave behind in the minutes that follow its conclusion is anything but subtle. Having only recently heard Y. Dan Rubinstein’s work for the first time, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect coming into my review of this latest release, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his reputation among the San Francisco folk beat isn’t all talk in the slightest. He’s the real article; an un-fanciful singer/songwriter with some lofty ideas about making evocative acoustic music. I’m fascinated by “Farewell, Farewell Adieu,” but I don’t know that this single provides us with a complete picture of what he can produce when there’s nothing to restrict his creativity. There’s still a lot of untapped potential in Rubinstein, and I can’t wait to see it come to fruition in the next few years.
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