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Gabriela’s “Most Wanted”

Guided by a righteous and prominent swing but never the central draw of the track or its video by any means, the tempo in Gabriela’s “Most Wanted” is a tension-inducing element without dispute. In the tradition of classic pop crossovers with a lot of attitude and passion sewn into the fabric of the material, this song struts about with a swagger that immediately conjures up images of lust seconds after pressing the play button, but it isn’t dependent on its rhythm to make a big statement at all. That’s where Gabriela’s superior lead vocal comes in handy; without much effort at all, this crooner seems to put her stamp on any melody she sings.  

“Most Wanted” features lyrics that aren’t over the top with poeticisms by any means, and I suppose they do appeal to an old-guard sensibility that certain listeners will absolutely appreciate. Gabriela presents herself as a bit of a throwback to the affirmative style of pop music in the mid-2000s with the construction of the video’s narrative, but for those who could care less about the visual subtext here, it’s still a really fine portrayal of an artist’s sound that doesn’t fall too far from where I would have placed the summary of her current aesthetics inside the studio.  

I do think it would be interesting to hear the rock influence Gabriela has as a songwriter presented just a bit more prominently in this piece, though I can agree with critics who might argue she hasn’t had enough time to fully develop the enchanting hybrid that will ultimately become her signature style of play. I guess it’s the contrast between her cockiness with the mic and the seemingly casual nature of the composing angle that leaves me the most curious about the future beyond “Most Wanted,” not necessarily because of any specific flaws, but because of the manner in which they’re being put together by a young talent clearly capable of making something even better down the line.  

The guitar part gets a little bit of competition from the bassline in some select spots here, but I don’t know that this wasn’t intentional on the part of our singer, perhaps in an effort to lend some pressure to the chorus. Gabriela strikes me as someone who doesn’t want to cut corners when she’s composing, but as a performer, she’s got a fluidity that allows her to break away from rules – hers or anyone else’s – without sounding like she’s abandoning the premise of a song. There’s still so much to learn about her identity, but we’re getting one heck of a strong sample with this single and its video. 

Pop fans can do a lot worse than the new single from Gabriela this November, and in my honest opinion, I think this incredibly melodic young woman’s best days are still ahead of her. The actual bread and butter of “Most Wanted” is bold and colorful in the right ways, but with the right training and space to put everything into play, I think Gabriela has a real shot at becoming an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. 

Mindy McCall



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