“Nightmare” by Sarah Anne Fernandez is a dark pop masterpiece. With vindictive, empowering lyrics and impressively belted vocals, it feels a little like a modern Kelly Clarkson song. But make no mistake, this track has its own idiosyncracies to make it unique, and ultimately effortlessly cool.
A warm synth swells into existence as a harpsichord-like patch plays an ominous line. “I wanted to be your dream / Nothing with you’s as it seems,” Sarah utters, carving out an animated melody. She dips into various parts of her register, giving us a sneak peek of her vocal chops. Bass and percussion carry the verse along, giving it this quiet, anticipatory atmosphere.
The chorus arrives with an amalgamation of clever lyrics. It’s the kind of chorus that starts off small and then employs an anthemic beat drop halfway through. At first, we get gentle strings and covered drums. Then, it’s a flood of hi-hat, deep, effective kick drum, and bass. You’re left floored. As Sarah juxtaposes the betrayal she feels with the devious hope that her ex-lover still has harrowing dreams of her, you’re sinking your teeth into the masterful, auditorily satisfying production value.
On top of the technical genius of the songwriting and sound design of this track, Sarah’s voice really shines. Her range is incredible. Her control, especially when she delivers runs, is awe-inspiring. In a post-pop-diva society (maybe save Ariana Grande), it’s always such a delight to hear a powerful female vocalist. Sarah Anne Fernandez provides all this and more.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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