Will Wheaton Releases “Lady in My Life”
Bright, color-saturated melodic pulsations dance shamelessly with a synthetic harmony as Will Wheaton serenades us with the lyrics to his new cover of “Lady in My Life,” but despite the numerous fireworks transpiring here, there’s only one true star of this show. Will Wheaton’s voice is uncompromisingly grand, sliding between a pop-style crooning and a beautiful belting out of the chorus.
His aesthetical approach is incredibly experimental, potentially avant-garde in spirit, and unquestionably one of the most endearing hybrids I’ve come across in April. “Lady in My Life” is admittedly a little rough and tumble – it blends abrasive minimalist themes with an indulgent pop melodicism few artists can manipulate appropriately – but that said, it never sounds even remotely unfocused or scattered. You don’t have to be a professional critic to pick up on the emotionality buried within everything from the lyrics to the harmonies and back to the beat in this track (which isn’t all that common among new music nowadays). There is no shortage of hybrids in music at the moment, but I can personally say that I haven’t heard anything quite like what Will Wheaton has produced in his stunning solo release.
When I first sat down with “Lady in My Life,” I felt a lot of new jack swing energy in the grooves, but not enough to say that this artist is straight-up worshipping the mantle of late80s/early 90s urban pop. The beat is the tell in this song – there’s so much attention paid to how it winds up interwoven with the bassline textures, and yet it’s entirely directed by the cadence of Wheaton’s verses.
His voice is always the focal point in this mix, but I never get the impression that it was constructed to lead our way with its words. There’s too much of a multi-dimensionality to the other angles here for this to be the case; for example, while there isn’t a lot of oomph on the percussive presence in “Lady in My Life,” the drums still generate the rhythm (and the mood it produces) regardless. The bass element, the synths, and especially the lead vocal are all positioned to yield a churning effect as we inch closer to the song’s conclusion, making every moment building up to the finish line feel like an emotional experience.
I wasn’t aware of Will Wheaton before getting my hands on a copy of “Lady in My Life” just recently, but I will be watching for more of his music in the future. There are a lot of different ways that he could broach his next project, but I would like to see him stick with the barebones pop aesthetics he’s managing so brilliantly in this track.
He’s got the potential to diversify his sound pretty much any way that he sees fit, but with a bit more discipline in his pop-themed conceptualism, I believe he could make a significant impact among mainstream audiences sooner than later. The ball is in his court, and if “Lady in My Life” finds some fans among the college radio crowd this spring, the pressure to keep the creative momentum going will only get stronger.
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