“Not Taking Me Back” by Laken Lambson can only be described as serendipitous. Everything about this song is gleefully unexpected. The melody dips and peaks gratifyingly, taking on a classic shape that’s peppered with some not-so-classic note choices. The production manages to achieve a pop atmosphere, but the sound design and instrument choices verge on experimental. The ultimate effect is something moving, thought-provoking, and artistic.
The song begins with a fuzzy synth arpeggio gently crawling upwards. Laken’s voice chimes, “Baby you were born to do a lot of things, / And I’ve been turning blue telling you one of them is loving me.” Her voice is soft, effortless, and organic. You can tell already that she has that innate ability to convey emotion with her voice. Not to mention, the lyrics already hold a very complex feeling.
As we continue through the piece, we’re gifted with more texture. Acoustic guitar propels the rhythm of a brief pre-chorus. Strings and quick-fire electronic hi-hats enliven the chorus. Harmonies envelop the bridge, adding a tinge of drama. At some juncture, there’s even a flash of timpanis, which feels rather orchestral. The production of this piece takes it from a gorgeously written pop tune to something anthemic. It feels totally unique.
If any of that sounds enticing to you, be sure to check out Laken Lambson! By any metric, her songs are well-written and well-performed, but most importantly, her sound separates her from the pack. “Not Taking Me Back” showcases how special and innovative pop music can really be.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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