The strongest bonds build the purest altruism. Unconditional love grounds us and strengthens our ability to feel empathy. It’s something everyone should be able to feel towards someone or something. It makes us better people. Life has a way of separating us from our loved ones, and singer/songwriter Aaron Smith hasn’t forgotten the importance of letting them know we still care. To those he holds dearest, Smith delivers a beautiful message with lip-trembling passion and no absence of hooks in his latest achievement, “Unconditional.”
Songwriters often grapple with bipolar feelings towards their own work. Sometimes it can feel like the words just have no purpose—that there’s no point in writing them down. When song lyrics bring tears to the eyes of their audience, it’s a strong indication that they needed to be sung. Smith’s music is so accessible because it’s both personal and relatable. His new single’s authenticity is what likely enabled him to pour so much into it. Its identifiability is what will keep his listeners streaming and sharing the track again and again.
Less can be more. The most impressive element of this song is perhaps its humility. I have no doubt that the arrangement and instrumentation were intentionally left minimal. The melody and overall motion of “Unconditional” open the door for an orchestral or big-band accompaniment to permeate the sound, but the producers opted for a subtler approach. Smith doesn’t need extra fluff to achieve greatness in music. He could sing this song over only its root notes on a piano, and it would still be powerful. The distinction is written in its framework.
Listeners are treated to some pleasant variety in the form of backing vocals by Holly Humberstone during the post-chorus. This, combined with its piano-driven, dark-pop mood, gives off strong Billie and Finneas vibes. It adds a likeable familiarity to the work and reaffirms Smith’s right to contend with his mainstream contemporaries.
After generating lots of anticipation with “Brother” and “Your Turn Now,” Aaron Smith shares his new single and accompanying EP titled For My Father. “Unconditional” is a strong opener and sets the stage nicely for the whole project.
Smith’s momentum began picking up last year after the release of his single “Unspoken” which received many accolades—including being featured on BBC Radio 1’s “Best New Pop Songs” playlist. Before the pandemic hit, he was selling out shows in London and Glasgow. His sophomore project shows that nothing can slow him down and indicates that more great music is to come.
Keep up with Aaron Smith by following him on social media, and check out the For My Father- EP if you’re looking to find your next favorite song of 2020.
Written by Matt Kalicky