“South America” by Dom Malin is simply beautiful. It utilizes a classic folk chord progression and form to tell a bittersweet story, full of forbidden love and painful sentimentality. He delivers a touching, memorable performance with just his voice and a reverb-drenched electric guitar.
The intro consists of a masterful strumming pattern, rife with hammer-ons and pull-offs. The chord progression is already steeped in emotion, toggling between major and minor chords in all the right places. Dom comes in crooning, “For hours and hours we would talk away / Into the night we would stay awake.” The tender lyrics combined with his bright yet warm tone give the song an air of intimacy–the listener can almost close their eyes and imagine Dom in the room with them. It feels personal, cathartic, and ultimately emotionally fulfilling.
The chorus materializes as Dom wails, “Señorita,” an anthemic moment bolstered by his rasp and intensity. He repeats this line, always followed by a new qualifier. The very last line flows out over a morose chord: “Señorita, would you be mine / If we had met at a different time?” It’s a perfect thought to leave the listener with at the end of each chorus. It sums up the song’s theme, while also conveying something heartbreaking and relatable.
Be sure to check out Dom Malin if you love stripped-down folk ballads. He’s got a pretty large discography to sort through, and once you hear one song you’ll doubtlessly fall in love with his gentle delivery and vintage writing style.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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