In his debut single “Retrospective Outlook,” teenage up and comer Chris Mardini delivers a multilayered melodic treat inside of a mere three minutes and change. Driven by a stadium-quaking bassline and a cutting lead vocal from Mardini himself, “Retrospective Outlook” is a very ambitious composition for any singer to undertake, and yet this rookie never stumbles for a second amidst the dexterous ascent towards the chorus. I’m never sure what to expect when I review a greenhorn groove-maker, but in the case of Mr. Chris Mardini, his adept use of bold melodies to make an emotive statement in this track alone make his music a worthwhile listen this summer.
The riffage that we encounter in this song’s first act is crushing and brutish, but to be honest I didn’t find it to be any more physical an entity than the drums, bass and Mardini’s voice are in the grander scheme of things. There’s a lot of oomph in this Mark Needham-concocted mix, but between the heavier tones and the raw vitality that our singer’s performance is steeped in, nothing in “Retrospective Outlook” ever feels out of place or unnecessarily included. You don’t have to be as devout an audiophile as I am to appreciate the amount of time that must have gone into crafting this composition to be as tight and well-rounded as it ultimately is, but for those of us who live and die by sonic depth, this is about as awesome as it gets in the modern pop genre.
Mardini’s lyricism in “Retrospective Outlook” is remarkably self-aware – a concept that most of us would struggle with at 17 years old – and although I get a really personal, openly communicative vibe from his words here, every verse is seemingly devoid of the overindulgences that plague the output we hear from many of his peers in the industry. There are a couple of rough edges in his transitions and a little bombast where there needn’t be any, but overall Mardini is doing a really good job of getting his point across to us without finding himself getting caught up in the moment. As I previously noted, his young age is definitely a factor in accessing his skillset, but at the same time if you had told me that this was in fact a single from his third studio album, I would have believed you. In the end, this guy has a confidence that is synonymous with seasoned pros, and that’s what makes his new track a must-listen.
“Retrospective Outlook” is a fantastic introduction to the music of Chris Mardini, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more from his camp as he continues to develop this style and find his footing as an independent artist. He’s already off to a great start with what he’s accomplished in the studio here, and after we get a complete look at his debut extended play, I think that we’ll have a pretty good idea not only about who he is, but moreover, what he wants to achieve as a singer, songwriter and lyricist.