Angelo David wants to take us somewhere we’ve never been before, and he does just that in the new single “This Place,” a fascinating journey into the sonic ethers from which brilliant pop music is born. Unlike most teenagers, David isn’t consumed with Friday night lights and homework alone. He’s embarking on a magnificently melodic career as a solo musician and producer, and this latest release is another wonderful addition to his expanding body of work. Synthesizers and boisterous basslines clash and war for our affections while David croons bittersweet lyrics that take us to “This Place” where his voice is as powerful as a lingering sunset.
The lyrics here are delicately imprinted on the sterling grooves that cushion them. Their minimalist structure would seem, on paper, to conflict with the rhythm of this track, which is arguably much bolder than the instrumentation is, but on the contrary it creates a beautiful contrast through which David can express his feelings. His vocal attack is equally surreal, which adds a certain sublime, airy feeling to the words that wouldn’t exist otherwise. They say that execution is everything in pop music, and if that’s the case Angelo David appears to have conquered one of the biggest artistic hurdles a young performer can face.
Grainy synthesizers try their best to invade the melody of the chorus, but David’s comforting voice is just too captivating to allow it. Again, contrast becomes a focal point that draws us ever closer to the hook in this song; the synths and the vocals, the churn in the rhythm against the supple music – all of it is creating an exotic backdrop. Duality is sometimes viewed as a flaw in mainstream circles, but as far as I’m concerned those circles boast something that Angelo David can proudly say he doesn’t: artificiality. He never cheapens his lyrics with ridiculous showmanship or overzealous vibrato, which is nice in this age of software-generated artistry.
I definitely can hear shades of R&B and even electropop in the central harmony of “This Place.” David strikes me as a very versatile player both here and in his song “Post,” which both sport dexterous grooves that flirt with different styles shamelessly. What appeals to me most about this track is that while the vocal could have metaphorically been shaped to fit any sort of harmonies, the finished product doesn’t come off to me as anything but genuine. His singing doesn’t sound augmented with studio trickery – it’s as if he’s on stage here and completely unfiltered.
2018 has been an outstanding year for pop music, and Angelo David contributes one of its more charming nuggets in “This Place” that promises to elevate the status of the much-discussed singer and aid in his growing professional momentum. While there’s clearly plenty of room for David to grow as a songwriter and producer, “This Place” confirms what most of us who have been following the young man’s ascent already knew; he’s only going to get better with age and experience. In the last few years that have passed since his debut EP, he’s made quite an impact online and in person, and this single can be counted as yet another victory in what I can only imagine will become a long line of successes.