The biggest complaint that I hear from casual alternative rock fans is that the genre has lost its authenticity in recent times, partly due to the streamlining of its best bands, but mostly because of its constant misapplication. One of the only artists that I’ve heard lately to sound like an “alternative” to anything is young Chris Mardini, a New York teenager with a voice that seems to stop time whenever he weaponizes it in songs like his debut single “Retrospective Outlook.” With a funky bassline behind him and a ripping rap attack situated between the mini-climaxes in the track, “Retrospective Outlook” is a far cry from mainstream rock if I’ve ever heard one.
This rhythm is riddled with a very cosmopolitan swing, and I think that it’s seductive enough to win the favor of club goers as well as conventional rock connoisseurs. The New York underground has never been one to let us down when it comes to shelling out original talent, but it’s been experiencing somewhat of a modern renaissance lately. Chris Mardini is one of the city’s more intellectually stimulating songwriters right now, and he’s representing his scene really well in this debut release.
Mardini doesn’t want to go into extremes with “Retrospective Outlook;” it’s far more prudent to do what he’s doing in simply trying to give us an idea about his artistry and the identity that he’s fashioning for himself as a promising teenage songwriter.
It would be really interesting to hear an acoustic version of “Retrospective Outlook.” Stripping away all of the bells and whistles that were added into the mix post-recording, the actual edifice of this composition could be adapted for practically any purpose – be it balladry, heavy rock or even something EDM-oriented. I’ve got to give Chris Mardini a ten out of ten on the versatility scale after listening to this song on repeat these last few days, and I’ll say that if he gets any better at jumping from one aesthetical platform to the next he should seriously look into making a full-blown avant-garde album.
Of all the artists that I’m listening to right now, this is who I think hardcore harmony buffs need to be following this September. Chris Mardini doesn’t just sound the part in “Retrospective Outlook,” he is the part; sophisticated, dapper and resolute in getting everything that he wants when the microphone is in his hands. It’s these exact qualities that launched some of the most influential artists of all-time into stardom so many years ago, and even though we’re living in a very unique era in pop music, there’s no arguing whether or not Mardini has what it takes to crater alternative culture with this sound.
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