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“Two Bleeding Hearts” by Bruce Sudano feat. Valerie Simpson

In near-hushed tones, Bruce Sudano begins to croon ever so gently as his new single “Two Bleeding Hearts,” his words echoing a profound sentimentality that will spread throughout the entirety of the track. He’s not in any hurry to bring us into the fever pitch of the chorus, but he’s certainly not dragging his heels beside the implied beat forming around him nor the incredible vocalist Valerie Simpson, who joins him for this duet. Sudano is careful with how he’s building the harmony with the bassline in this first portion of “Two Bleeding Hearts,” but as we listen on it becomes more than clear that his isn’t a slow-burning style of pop catharsis, but one more dependent on progressive themes than the standard ever is. His poetry is sterling, but the backdrop is pure gold.

The first thirty seconds of this song are pretty tense, but this tension doesn’t go unutilized by Sudano. He builds up the mood word by word, verse by verse, and as the chorus finally comes together all of the pressure begins to come undone all at once, under the guidance of his voice. There’s never a moment where it sounds like the backing band is in control – it’s all him, drawing our focus away from the complexities of the arrangement and towards his lyrical wit. He’s laying everything on the line with these words, but he’s doing so in such a manner that makes it obvious he’s still got more to say – even when a verse has come to an end.

For the most part, the substance of the instrumentation is a collective backing to the lyrics in this track, more so than is common in most American and European pop in 2023. When the louder strings roll into the mix, it feels like Sudano is reconnecting with a long-lost friend rather than simply singing beside an instrumental component perfect for his style of vocal. “Two Bleeding Hearts” wouldn’t be the same with a different style of guitar at the heart of its arrangement, or anything other than the centerpiece we get, to be honest, but I wouldn’t say this singer/songwriter should restrict the kind of tracks he records in the future.

These moves were right for this moment, and the next will provide us with another unique vantage point from which to observe his craft in action.

I love what I’ve heard from Bruce Sudano so far, but I’m excited at the idea of seeing him live on stage at some point this year. He has a voice that can light up the recording studio and make a stock track like this one sound like something he’s been developing for years, and if he can bring even a fraction of the magic he’s got in “Two Bleeding Hearts” to a complete setlist for the stage, he’s going to be for quite the warm reception from fans around the world. It’s easy to judge his depth as a composer just based on the black-and-white, but as a performer, I think his attitude should be celebrated as a much-needed intro to yet another epoch in pop music.

Mindy McCall



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