Comprised of discord as much as it is a harmony between man and instruments that can’t be merely practiced into existence, Mark Newman’s “From Me to You” immediately jumps out of the speakers and stokes a response from its listeners within the first few bars it has to share. Melodically speaking, the fabric of this track is rich beyond compare – even with its original version – enhanced by the production design of this single and yet never quite realized simply because of its varnish.
Fostered by the premium attention to detail and not even the vaguest of interest in appeasing lovers of the mainstream model, “From Me to You” is allowed to breathe through the very act of suffocation; both that of Newman and the audience, with varying degrees of intensity. For our leading man, we find him overwhelmed by the lyrical weight, sharply navigating the narrative and extending his emotions unto us whether we’re prepared to accept them or not. For the audience, we’re gifted a rather transcendent opportunity to understand a player not through his own work but via the manner in which he plays another’s. Quite honestly (and simply put), this is one of the more original cover songs I’ve heard in years.
This winter season has been an exceptional one for singer/songwriters in the American underground, with minimalism reigning as the dominant theme from one scene to the next, and in some ways I suppose you could say Newman is following that trend here. What he isn’t doing is recycling anything his peers have tinkered with instrumentally; the strings, through their deliberate subtleties, command as much attention as the equally potent vocal element in “From Me to You” does, and not because of volume knob-abuse. Tonality is always a major factor in this track, with a stoic reverb on the melodic parts inviting us closer to the lyrics despite a venomous undertow in the chorus hook. It’s as if Newman is communicating intimacy in his attempts to make a stunningly smothering instrumental backbone in this song, with the mix itself preserving every last brooding moment as organically as a music nerd like myself would hope for. A lot of heart went into this piece, and I don’t think you have to be particularly invested in either the performer or the material on its own to detect the passion sewn into the foundations of the track.
Vulnerable and made accessible through the warmth of its singer (and his methodical approach to the studio environment), there’s no other way for me to put it – Mark Newman’s “From Me to You” is an unmissable cover you really need to check out this February. Not only does this release provide some intriguing juxtaposition with the Janis Ian original, but it will more than likely provoke some new dialogue bout Newman he’s most definitely earned as a performer. You never know what you’re going to get with a cover, but this is an instance in which listeners needn’t fear; it’s solid gold content from top to bottom.
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