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“I’ll Fly Away” by Kiani

Bittersweet and a little smokier than I was expecting it to be, there’s no debate as to whether or not Kiani’s voice is what makes the single and music video for “I’ll Fly Away” the breakout release it truly is. As the most important component of the song, his vocal is at times so velvety that it’s too much for the menacing nature of the instrumental melodies, but it nevertheless leads us through the sonic forestry just fine. If 2023 is the beginning of pop music’s future, artists like Kiani are perhaps the best indicators of what alternative fans can anticipate in the decade to come. 

The harmonies in this song shape the tone of the lyrics even more than our singer’s delivery does. Though this isn’t a new concept, especially among more experimental players, there’s something unique about the way Kiani is incorporating it into “I’ll Fly Away.” It’s almost as if he’s removed from the instrumental thrust without losing his emotional investment in the verses he sings; there’s an understated conflict here, and to some extent, it’s defining everything about the way we interpret the narrative in this single. 

Kiani stars in the music video for “I’ll Fly Away,” and I think it turned out particularly surreal and invitingly bright as a result of his detailed approach to the project. There are a lot of artists that would love to take the kind of control over their work that this singer/songwriter has over his own, but I don’t know how many have the creative capacity to make it happen. There is a rare, highly artistic personality behind the gears in this track and its video, and he should get a much grander share of the spotlight after his new release gets into steady rotation on smart pop radio stations. 

The groove has a couple of moments that feel a little underwhelming in comparison to what the melodic instrumentation is delivering quite literally around every twist and turn in this arrangement, but I can understand a desire on the part of producers to keep some level of balance at the center of the master mix. While our star is someone who gravitates towards bombast a lot more than some of his peers would ever be able to, his indulgence is not without some ends. There’s a lot to be said about the efficiency of this piece as well as the wallop it’s able to pack, which is a combination I do not find in pop music nearly as much as I would like to. 

Though I truly liked what I had heard from Kiani before now, I think “I’ll Fly Away” is a step above for his brand without question. Kiani is signing like he’s got nothing else in his life other than the music in this song, and rather than exuding any sort of arrogance in his intellectually-savvy execution here, he sounds as humble and approachable as he ever has. He’s raising the bar for himself exponentially, but my gut tells me that we can count on seeing him continue to mature with every recording he submits. 

Mindy McCall

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