Movies, Pop Culture

Lorenzo Gabanizza Releases “You’re Not There” (feat. Jeff Christie)

The opening for Lorenzo Gabanizza’s single “You’re Not There” is a little misleading. A brief swell of synthesizers, however, soon gives way to a smooth mid-tempo pace carried by drumming and guitar. The former lays down an authoritative and recognizable groove while the latter unwinds compelling melodic lines over the top. Few will mind that the songwriting follows such a familiar course as, in the end, the cut’s pleasure comes in no small part from hearing how well Gabanizza’s song pulls off such moments. It’s a master class, of sorts, in AOR balladry.

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It isn’t another love or relationship song. At least not your typical relationship song. “You’re Not There” covers human relationships with ourselves and others with maturity rarely heard in popular songs. It doesn’t aspire to high-flown poetic language either and grounding its verses with conversational diction is a smart choice. It matches the music as well – the backing for Gabanizz’a new single eschews phony sophistication in favor of accessible pop songcraft.

Many listeners will respond to its intelligent yet plain-spoken quality. No one will ever feel like the singer, Jeff Christie, is “talking” down to them and he communicates its subject with a controlled yet powerful flood of emotion. Many will love the way he modulates his voice. Christie is a guest vocalist here, but he feels every bit of the lyric without ever imposing a self-conscious presence on the song.

The horn playing in “You’re Not There” may be unexpected to some. It’s hard to imagine, however, many hearing it as a disagreeable addition. It’s a complementary part rather than the song’s highlight and, as such, never attempts to monopolize the performance. It has the further effect of diversifying the song melodically. It threads an extra strand of emotion through the music many listeners will enjoy.

It isn’t difficult to imagine Gabanizza has written and recorded music for years. He hasn’t been around all that long, actually, but a distinguishing aspect of his discography is its thoroughly polished and complete approach. Distinctions such as mainstream, indie, and so on are irrelevant when discussing this single. So are labels. Merchants and record companies use them to organize their products and it means nothing more than that. Lorenzo Gabanizza’s “You’re Not There” has everything longtime music fans look for from an artist.

It is, perhaps, natural that many performers are turning towards such material after over eighteen months of a pandemic. We have seen much death and division reminding us, because we sadly do need reminding, to make use of every day and take nothing for granted. It’s an evergreen message and the song gets it across for listeners without any unnecessary detours.

A song such as this isn’t typical of pop music in general. The very nature of pop music is transience, but this reaches for something different. The desire to entertain listeners is alive and well during this song as well; it’s impossible to imagine Lorenzo Gabanizza neglecting that. His latest single “You’re Not There” testifies to that without a doubt.

Troy Johnstone

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