When Dane Maxwell rips into the opening verse of his all-new single “Where I’m Seen,” anyone within earshot can instantly feel the emotion in his vocal. Though separated by stereo speakers, the muscular master mix makes it sound as if he’s sitting before us in an intimate, close-quarters performance. He digs into the painfully conscious chorus with as much passion as he does the introductory stanza, but as we emerge from the ashes of the blaze that its hook stokes, his voice shifts towards a decidedly more determined tone than it was when we started. Maxwell does whatever it takes to inspire hope in those who have been victimized by bullying in this song, and from where I sit, he couldn’t have done a much better job.
If you’ve got real world experience with abuse, this single is at times jarringly relatable and sublimely surreal in the bold statements that it makes. On the one hand, the music is peaceful, pendulous even, and patiently arranged as to give the lion’s share of the spotlight over to Maxwell’s vocal. From his side of the recording booth, there’s an overarching emotionality that is equal parts reflective and optimistic. The contrasts are wide-ranging and scattered throughout both the lyrical and instrumental elements within the track, but together they form a heroic harmony that is anything but conflicted in nature. “Where I’m Seen” is a poetic wonder, but there’s just as much to be said about its experimental stylization and incredible melding of pop songcraft and mild rock rhythms.
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It’s pretty easy to get lost in the strings that dot the sonic landscape behind the vibrant lead vocal that Maxwell dispenses, and I would even go as far as to say that their haunting echo maximizes the chill-factor in the song enormously. I like that, while it can’t be said for a lot of his underground brethren, Dane Maxwell seems to value the instrumental aspects of his songwriting as much as he does the lyrical content, the latter of which serves to highlight his amazing singing abilities explicitly. He’s got a strong duality in his style of composing, and in an era weighed down by a lot of one-note writers who lack the foresight that he does, it makes him much more valuable than your typical diamond in the rough-composer would be.
Of all the singles that are due out this year, “Where I’m Seen” is the only one that I would strongly encourage fans of all genres and styles of music to take a peek at. Whether you’ve been directly affected by the evils of bullying or simply care about the welfare of humanity is it currently stands, it’s a worthwhile listen that doesn’t demand much in exchange for a wealth of memorable harmonies. Dane Maxwell has a long way to go before he reaches the household name-status that all pop singers covet, but I think that he is well on his way with this stunning new song. I know I’ll be keeping tabs on him moving forward, and once you give “Where I’m Seen” a spin, I think that you will as well.