When you’ve got a voice as strong as David Leask’s is, you don’t need the bells and whistles that most pop songwriters do, and hence, listeners will not find any in his new single “When You Think No One Loves You,” which is out now everywhere that independent music is sold and streamed. Leask executes soft lyrical blows while a piano drones on with a tear-jerking harmony that never falls into predictable pop patterns in “When You Think No One Loves You,” and while the video for this song is more rousing than the single alone is (thanks to its well-thought out premise), both are bound to make Leask fans more than happy this autumn season.
Although it’s as stripped-down as they come in the soul/pop genre, this track doesn’t feel particularly barebones. The piano fills up the speakers with so much warmth that the addition of a bassline’s rolling groove or a light percussive beat would have probably been too much for most to handle. Leask’s vocal is unassumingly directive, creating the rhythm of the song almost all by itself, and despite its overwhelming grandeur, it’s clearly not being pumped-up by any equalization tricks in the master mix.
One thing that I might change about “When You Think No One Loves You” would be the volume on the piano, especially as the track nears the finish line. Its keys are glistening at the start of the song, but by the time that Leask is closing in on his last verses, they sound a little suffocated. They could have used a bit more of a kick, but if it’s what we have to give up in order to get the full-scope of the lead vocal in all of its splendor on tape, it actually might be a worthy tradeoff.
The arrangement here is versatile enough to be adapted into a remix, and that isn’t something that I’ve found in most of the songs I’ve heard by David Leask. He’s flexing some serious songwriting muscle in “When You Think No One Loves You,” and even with the couple of surface issues that it’s got, it is unquestionably one of the better compositions that he’s come up with in the late ‘10s. Even for a veteran of the studio, Leask turns in some really impressive results in this single and its companion video (while also raising the bar for himself in the process).
If “When You Think No One Loves You” is on par with what David Leask is going to be recording in the ‘20s, this might be one of the last singles he cuts as a truly independent performer. He’s a relative unknown in many parts of the United States, but with a new song like this one getting into rotation on the college dial, American audiences are soon going to take notice. If you didn’t already think that is an awesome time to be a fan of the Canadian indie beat, listening to David Leask’s “When You Think No One Loves You” will probably get you on the bandwagon with the rest of us.