With the talent he brings with him into the recording studio, the truth is that Neil Nathan doesn’t have to supply a heavy-handed attack at the mic to make his point clear to the audience he’s singing to. There’s something really inspired about his use of melodicism in the new single “Be Still My Ever Beaten Heart,” but he isn’t relying on cheap feels and poetic predictability to win over any hearts here, either. This is a performance that highlights his casual demeanor, his loveable congeniality with his verses, and his ability to make something full-bodied in a sea of simplicity.
There’s no blushing in this harmony – only a rigid tethering to the rhythm of the music, making everything feel so much more large and in charge than it would have otherwise. Size counts for something in pop music, and this is an instance where we can’t help but be reminded as much around the many twists and turns in the groove of the music. Nathan wants us to feel the full capacity of his wits here, and to me, he couldn’t have done a much better job than the one we’re being presented with inside of “Be Still My Ever Beaten Heart.”
This mix is tight enough to hold everything together without sounding too over the top or progressive in stylization, neither of which would have been good for the sound Neil Nathan is working with in this performance, and there’s never a moment where it feels like we’re listening to something that can only exist within a studio rather than on the stage as well. “Be Still My Ever Beaten Heart” has certain vulnerable qualities that I don’t know if I could stand to see sacrificed in the name of a streamlined formula for concerts, and I would hope to see an even rawer version than what I’ve got here in a proper presentation.
Singer/songwriters who aren’t saddled by pretentiousness can be very hard to come by, especially these days, but in Neil Nathan, we’ve got a classic troubadour who isn’t afraid to be humble with his statements, particularly when he’s got something really important to tell his listeners. This is one of the more complete singles of its kind to land on my desk this summer, and if you haven’t already been listening to “Be Still My Ever Beaten Heart,” this July might be the right time to check it out.