VOCAL LONER’s “man on the moon” opens with an expectant pulse of guitar and keyboard that catches one’s ear immediately. The gentle toggle between notes on both instruments feels like the rhythm of a clock, or perhaps mimics the countdown to lift-off that the lyrics so eloquently describe. This spacey, ethereal moment is immediately brought back down to earth when the vocals come in. The vocalist’s longing, organic tone injects this song with humanity, as they sing, “When I first saw you, I thought love at first sight / Little did I know you were packing for flight.” The listener is instantly transported to an all-too-familiar place–loving someone who just can’t be pinned down.
Not only do the lyrics continue to paint this picture of yearning, but the music mirrors the storyline. The instrumentation is ethereal, untethered, and free while the vocals feel firmly grounded. This juxtaposition strengthens the integrity of the narrative, stringing together the verse, pre-chorus, and chorus. All of this culminates in one pivotal moment, at which the singer utters without accompaniment: “and this spaceman needs to leave soon.” The pause in the instrumentation combined with the intimate delivery of this line create the perfect tagline.
The second chorus welcomes a powerful drum groove and a driving electric guitar, which heighten the urgency of these repeated words. Forgoing the tagline from the last chorus, this one launches into a wonderfully distinct bridge. The shape of the melody changes completely, floating over a brand new chord progression. Here the singer proclaims, “I would’ve done anything you wanted / Through blood and tears, through muddy waters,” describing the same feeling of rejection they’ve hinted at the entire time, but with grittier, more poignant words. As the song drifts into the last chorus, the instrumentation continues to intensify until the singer delivers the tagline one last time. The song fades out with a wash of reverb and delay, as the words dissipate towards the singer’s sky-bound lover.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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