Pop music as a whole has a somewhat bad reputation for recycling generic themes a little too often to be taken seriously, but that isn’t the case with rising star Angelo David’s new single “This Place,” which wastes no time capturing our attention with a sly synth-led beat that is stirring and evocative. David is still making his mark on the lexicon of pop, but with “This Place” he demonstrates his command of the mic and willingness to explore uncharted waters with a confidence that is infectious to say the least. Driven by a studded groove and a streamlined melody, this single and the inspired, textured ambient framework that it wears so exquisitely is anything but typical. It’s a sonic tour de force that demands a reaction.
David isn’t afraid to really go after his verses in “This Place,” which differs from some of his previously released material conceptually. The relaxed energy that he gives off in the chorus stands in stark contrast to the focused assault of the synthesizers, but the two components never challenge each other or even come close to wrecking the melodies. Most vocalists aren’t able to harmonize with a bass as crunchy as this one is, but then again most vocalists don’t have the youthful croon that David does. He doesn’t sound to me like a teenager singing a makeshift pop song – he’s in total control of the musical narrative here, and like a seasoned studio veteran he’s patient with the rhythm and doesn’t try to saturate his singing in frills.
This mix is very muscular and, as previously noted, generous with the low-end, but it should be noted that it never allows for any part of the music – David’s included – to become overindulgent or excessive beyond the point of return. The synths are admittedly much richer than the drum track, but their sway doesn’t steamroll over everything in sight (which can be quite the problem among indie pop singles strained through the lens of thick equalization). There are plenty of opportunities for everything to come apart, but instead this single only gets tighter as it nears the finish line, and concludes on an evaporating harmony that is as intense and climactic as its initial chorus is.
Light on swing and chock full of a daring rigidity that is crushed under the weight of Angelo David’s starry-eyed vocal performance, “This Place” is a winner for premium audio fanatics everywhere who live for a hot hook outfitted with big tone and smart lyrics. What got my attention more than anything else in this song was the way David stretches out the tension between the verses in the introduction and the cathartic chorus. He’s got a tremendous amount of self-awareness, which is one of the cornerstones of solid songwriting in any genre of music but especially in radio-friendly pop. The emotion in his voice is genuine, and the longing in his harmonies is easy to fall in love with. Check out “This Place” as soon as if you can if you haven’t already. If you love great pop music, you’ll be happy you did.