It’s science: When a great voice meets a great melody, listeners make memories. Aaron Smith’s new single, “Your Turn Now” is an example of this cerebral trip in action.
In the song, Smith tries to find catharsis by reflecting – out loud – about damaging childhood-experiences at the hands of his kinsfolk. His voice has just the right amount of rasp and no shortage of emotion. It sounds like he’s been up all night arguing.
You can let yourself get lost in the lyrics. “Your Turn Now” sounds as though it’s being sung through tears, and by the end, you’re bound to be wiping your own away empathetically. The vocal performance during the hook calls to mind Justin Vernon’s gritty wailing in “Skinny Love.”
The chord progression over which Smith tells his story is undeniably catchy. With the vi-IV-I-V, a songwriter has options, and their melodic choices – if made wisely – can create something truly moving. Smith’s selection of notes does just that. I was hooked when he hit the first tritone over the subdominant chord in the chorus. This brief dissonance brilliantly characterizes the anguish portrayed in the lyrics. It’s as though the narrator just couldn’t bring himself to reach all the way to the fifth, or perhaps passionately threw his fourth too far. Smith connects with his listeners through this technique and the sound of his voice. The unique inflections and pronunciations are captivating; they give Smith a real personality as a songwriter.
You can also find beauty buried in the production of this track. It’s clear that Joe Rubel didn’t copy and paste Smith’s refrain. The subtle differences in each go-around demonstrate hard work and help to better position the chorus as a reiteration of main points during a tempestuous monologue.
This song demonstrates the power of words. Smith closes the song with, “you told me everyone hurts – well, it’s your turn now.” It’s clinchers like this that every songwriter hopes to craft – a line that turns the tables and sends shivers down the listener’s spine.
The minimal arrangement makes me long to hear the work performed live. It could easily lend itself to a big, full-band performance, or stay striped down to really put the spotlight on the creator.
Since last year, this Scottish singer/songwriter has been steadily scoring attention. His debut singles garnered recognition from outlets like Music Business Worldwide and BBC Radio 1. Be on the lookout for Smith’s new EP titled “For My Father” on July 31. Though the album – and this song in particular – tackles personal demons from the artist’s life growing up, his lyrics are versatile enough for a diverse audience to draw their own connections and really make the songs part of their own story.
I, myself, have really enjoyed getting lost in this in this new single.
Have a listen – it’s your turn now.
Written by Matt Kalicky