Elle Casazza – You
Few singles you’ll hear in 2017 will approach the sheer discovery of hearing Elle Casazza’s “You” for the first time. This is a performer who, even when tackling nominally upbeat material, knows how to enrich every performance with the emotional depth serious music fans appreciate in the art. She’s quite a capable entertainer, as well, and the phrasing she uses to bring “You” to vivid life has few comparable contemporaries working with the same sort of material today. This isn’t songwriting searching for the shortest trip between points A and Z – instead, Casazza allows the songwriting to take her wherever it may and it never stretches the boundaries of believability to assume she delivers the song in a slightly different fashion each time out. This is singer who truly treats songs like things of possibility. “You” expresses itself wonderfully and on multiple levels.
The piano playing and vocals kicking off the song establish a feeling of intimacy. There’s urgency in this treatment as well thanks to Casazza’s highly charged vocals and the lockstep way they are molded to fit each individual musical passage. She knows well enough when to pull back on the reins, however, and lets the song breathe rather than cluttering it up with an overwrought vocal treatment. Her phrasing explores a wide dynamic range. Casazza, fortunately, isn’t a singer content with striking one or two emotional chords – instead, she draws upon an immense technical and emotive range to invoke the full gamut of the song’s experiences. The lyrics are unique in the way they are accessible to anyone who has shared similar feelings and experience while still referencing her own life in a satisfyingly intimate way. She expresses herself and connects with an audience who doesn’t live her every day life – this may seem like a relatively minor achievement to some, but it isn’t.
Her bracing vocals are a big reason why this track communicates so well. The hushed emotional passages, the vocal in full flight and burning with passion, Casazza excels in both spheres. She doesn’t gloss over a single line and throws herself into the full band section with all of the commitment that the song demands from her at that point. The excellent construction alluded to earlier shows up again in the manner the song concludes. Rather building to some final crescendo, Casazza opts for returning to the original low key musicality of the song’s first half and tempers her singing accordingly. It gives “You” a well rounded aspect that many pop songs in this vein are missing and her vocal ability for invoking a number of styles is the performance’s crowning achievement. She maintains an impressively live quality for this performance despite the studio origins and it makes “You” a physically and emotionally affecting work. This Chicago born singer/songwriter has gotten her career off to the start that most performers hope and the future is literally boundless with promise from this point onward.