“What You Wanted” – Serena Sun | Review

During a relationship, you might wonder “what could be?”

After a relationship, you might wonder, “what could have been?”

Singer/songwriter Serena Sun and guitarist Kevin Logan sat in her bedroom and reflected on their past relationships. What manifested was a dark, tender hit as sonically moving as it is lyrically.

The song is “What You Wanted,” and it’s a detailed, honest look into the artist’s past. She sings about a failed relationship and reconciles the ways in which the two weren’t enough for each other. By the time the pre-chorus kicks in, listeners will be hooked by the dynamic way Serena delivers her message. It’s interpretable as tongue-in-cheek, but also understandably longing. It feels like something she just can’t get out of her head—written in a way that is both relatable and perceptual.

A deep, 80’s-esque, octave-based arpeggio holds the groove and takes the shape of a cool, but gloomy drive through the city at dusk. The synth riffs are reminiscent of the iconic atmosphere in Kavinsky’s “Nightcall.” Serena tells her story over a tasteful I IV vi IV progression—illustrating her mood with soft and dreamy vocals. The melody in the chorus is appealingly modest and gracefully uncomplicated—easily accessible and particularly memorable. It’s a hook in the truest form, but one of its facets takes the music to the next level: A Db. When Serena hits the major seventh over the subdominant chord, she creates a defining dissonance that cements her song in sublimity.

The Vancouver-based Serena Sun is a storyteller. She’s found a way to turn her most melancholic moments into many-sided melodies. Her music and lyrics are a concise expression of her complex background. Living in three different continents over the past decade has seemingly developed in her a reflective wisdom. Her uncommon experience, however isolating, has inspired her noteworthy artistic pursuits. Serena’s new single, “What You Wanted,” is now available in all major stores. Within one day of its release, the song racked up over 1,000 streams and has been featured on noteworthy Spotify editorial playlists.


Written by Matt Kalicky


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