No one ever said it was easy to make an original alt pop song in the year 2020, but Chris Mardini is going out of his way to breaking some new creative ground in his latest studio recording, the powerful power ballad “Sleepless.” There’s not a lot to dissect about “Sleepless;” it’s more or less a pop song with some rock n’ roll edge thrown in for good measure, but this isn’t saying the song isn’t without skyscraper-sized charismas that extend well past the compositional architecture. Mardini is a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to dominating the microphone, and no matter how black and white the material, he seems to make it feel like a new American standard.


The bass has a great kick to it in “Sleepless,” and I think that it matches up with the overdriven guitar parts brilliantly. The chemistry between the two elements makes this single appealing to both rock and pop fans alike, which are two groups that are becoming harder and harder for artists to satisfy within the same album (let alone the same song). Mardini doesn’t strike me as someone who is deliberately trying to max out his credibility with fans, but with that said, he isn’t trying to refine his sound to appease one audience over another.

I’d really like to hear an acoustic remix of “Sleepless” sometime. Along with his previous releases “Retrospective Outlook” and “Something’s Going On,” have a grinding groove that could be tapered and transformed into a confident thrust when adjusted for an acoustic guitar-powered performance, and when taking into account the fact that the vocal is the very bedrock for every beat in the track, it doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision the remix being even more successful than this initial offering could likely be.

If “Sleepless” is just a sampling of what Chris Mardini is planning on shelling out in the next few years of his career, we’re about to hear some of the best indie alt/rock to come from a teenage vocalist since a young phenom by the name of Justin Bieber came through the ranks some years ago. He’s definitely not there yet, but as long as he keeps his nose to the grindstone and avoids the pitfalls that come with attracting fame at an early age, my gut tells me he’s going to do just fine as time goes on.

Sebastian Cole