The new wave of mainstream synthetic music hasn’t been kind to any genre, but I think the pop community has probably taken a harder hit than a lot of others in the past year. Pop music has a long history of fostering an immersive relationship between artist and audience, and as organic elements in the style dry up, so has much of the magic the artists supporting the content have become known for through the years. John Hall isn’t about to let recent strife get in the way of his celebrating a classic sound in the new single “I Think of You,” and for my money, it’s just what pop needs right now.
Hall’s traditionalist attitude is one of the more essential ingredients in his recipe for success here, and although I don’t think you could accuse him of being a complete puritan on account of his extraordinarily modern finish in the master mix, he has the compositional wit of a player from two generations ago. There’s no eagerness to chase some big hook or exploit the virtuosities of an instrumental component in “I Think of You,” but instead just a pastoral harmony that gets more colorful as we press on.
This man’s voice is one of the more exciting parts of the track, and I like that he doesn’t skimp on the oomph behind his verses just to sound minimalist in the way so much of the competition has. I’ve got no problem with the barebones pop movement as it relates to the surreal trend we’re seeing left of the dial in America and beyond at the moment, but when it comes to something as undeniably folky in origin as a piece like this is, it’s nice to hear an artist refusing to cut corners just to sound more ‘efficient.’
While its old-school stylization will be one of the more discussed surface-level features in this single, the production quality itself is a reflection of the innovator that John Hall wants to be rather than the familiar crooner that he already is. The sonic depth of “I Think of You” leaves us as impressed as any of the actual performance does, and if expanded into a proper ballad or even a show-starting, rip-roar pop/rock tune, it could perhaps be enough to steal the big money away from a lagging mainstream market for the benefit of a real artist like this one.
It should be said that of all the up-and-comers making noise in pop at the moment, John Hall is one of the few players who does have it all. He’s got the voice, the attitude, and just the likeability of an icon, but he doesn’t overstate his ability for the sake of showboating – as so many of his contemporaries seem to do for one reason or another. Hall is a boss in “I Think of You,” and if I have my way, this isn’t going to be the last time I cover his stirring work as it’s created from inside the studio.