Nativists and Empiricists have long argued over whether nature or nurture plays a larger role in shaping the people we become. I’d like to throw another contender into the mix: love.
Love prevails over the predisposed programming in our brains and takes the wheel. We wouldn’t have the story of Romeo and Juliet if passion didn’t drive the couple’s decisions. A complicated connection can change the trajectory of our whole lives. Many people even find themselves revisiting failed relationships because something inside is telling them to try again and make it work. That’s exactly what CHATBOT’s new single is about.
“Suzanne” is about fighting for the love of your life. It’s about doing everything you can to make it happen. When you look at that specific person, you’re fixed on only them—you have tunnel vision. Nothing else matters.
The track is thoughtfully arranged. It’s comprised of all the elements that make for a chart-topping modern-pop hit. CHATBOT has pinpointed the sound his audience identifies with and executed in a way that perfectly aligns with the trends. You could easily see this song performed by a Halsey or a modern-day Maroon 5. What makes it so catchy is the styling of the main guitar part. The 10th-above-the-root dyads let us feel the showcased thirds but in a more full-bodied way.
It’s nice to hear a first name represented in pop music that we don’t often hear. I can only think of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” from back in the 60s. What CHATBOT’s modern melody offers us is some intriguing dissonance when he calls out the title—something the aforementioned world-renowned songwriter’s piece doesn’t include. We hear an F over the tonic, C, when CHATBOT sings her name. It’s a perfect fourth, and it defines the hook. It’s that sweet, little bend that launches the chorus into the air. It’s a melodic choice that adds a nice twist and demonstrates good songwriting. It’s an ingredient that makes “Suzanne” interesting whilst preserving its mass appeal.
CHATBOT was programmed with a primary purpose in mind: to produce pop music—be it under his own moniker or for nationally-acclaimed German acts like MC Fitti or Culcha Candela. The diversity in vocal and production stylings that exist in his solo work underscores his ability to write for a diverse group of artists. He’s also lent his talent to Dutch rappers like Lil’ Kleine and has worked on albums that were nominated for the Echo Music Prize in ’17 and ’18.
“Suzanne” helps audiences empathize with a time they yearned for a lost love. It either offers cathartic lyrics to those who’ve been burned by fires they just can’t seem to put out, or perhaps instead motivates them to “try it one more time.”
Written by Matt Kalicky