Rich Wyman & Lisa Needham Release “Forgiveness”

It’s 2023, and much as it was about 22 years ago, the crossover pop/rock pairing is once again king. Forget the pure, traditionalist styles that once dominated the charts – if you’re playing to what the audience wants in modern times, you’ve got to have a multidimensional musical profile, which is precisely what Rich Wyman & Lisa Needham have in their new single “Forgiveness.”

Rather than giving us the simplistic pop anthem that this song could have been, Wyman and Needham make a point of embellishing the hook with a moderate rock influence and providing the guitar parts just enough sizzle to stoke the flames when they need a little extra kindling. While this is only the first track I’ve heard from the duo’s discography, I don’t think we need much more than its basic running time to determine whether or not we’ve got a real winner on our hands. Neither of these artists is interested in following the beat of anyone else’s drum in this performance, but instead using natural style and unforced charms to enlighten us on what smooth crossover pop can sound like when it’s coming straight from the heart of two genuine poets.

There’s undisputedly a hearty folk-rock influence in the structure of this song, but it’s not so abundantly obvious in the composition of the melodies as to make the hook sound hipster-ish. One of the more annoying elements of any indie track I’ve been listening to lately has been the frilly mixes; from the strings to the beat and right on back to the vocal, Wyman & Needham’s peers seem to have a strange fascination with indulgence that they just don’t seem to have in “Forgiveness.” Wyman, in particular, seems to reject the sort of filler some of his contemporaries would just as soon write an entire album (let alone a song) around and instead brings a calmness behind his delivery that could be considered one of the brighter parts of his résumé were he not already as brilliant a performer as he is now. Lisa Needham is no slacker either, and I think that with a little more time and space to grow into this sound, they’re going to become one of the more unstoppable pairs in or outside of their scene.

Rich Wyman has a vocal that would be more than enough to carry a track, but rather than assembling a single that centers on his singing abilities alone, he’s bringing a lot more thunder to the studio in “Forgiveness” and demonstrating how much he does have to give. With Lisa Needham there to guide the direction of these aesthetics, two heartfelt storytellers can practice their craft much in the way of the legendary troubadours to have come before them, and while they are facing a lot of competition breaking into the mainstream pop scene right now, I like this pair’s chances after listening to what they can do in “Forgiveness.” This is honest-to-goodness quality music, and it teases a potential that no true critic or fan of sincere performers of any genre, as I see it, would be able to ignore.

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