“And we can’t take it back / Even if we could try / Ain’t it funny how we always try / It keeps staring us straight in the eye,” sings Lisa Needham in the company of a surreal piano harmony in the foreground of her new single with Rich Wyman “Memories of You,” out everywhere indie music is sold and streamed this autumn, and with her words comes a flood of emotional subtext illustrated through the adjacent instrumentation in bold, full-color audio. Utterly engaging from beginning to end, Needham’s brooding lyrical attack is possibly my favorite thing about this song and its music video, but I don’t think it’s the only reason why it’s picking up steam with audiences and critics around the globe at the moment.
Lisa Needham is going to get plenty of credit for her singing, songwriting, and artistic attitude as she develops something with her collaborator here, and though I don’t think Wyman has ever gotten his due for the arranging skills he brings to the table with him in songs like this one, that could be about to change. “Memories of You” feels like progressive pop/rock music minus the campy politicized narratives that frequently plague some of the subgenre’s brightest output, and while it’s an aesthetical hybridity in more ways than it isn’t, I’d stop short of describing it as a wholly experimental endeavor on either of these artists’ part.
Sonically, this single is an interestingly muscular piece of music that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to hear when I picked up the latest release from Rich Wyman, but then again, stylistic contradictions have been the bread and butter of quality indie pop/rock in the year 2022. I don’t think he’s trying to fit in with the cool kids here, but you’d have to be crazy to ignore the compositional maturity that he’s exhibiting in the very bones of both this song and the music video that was inspired by its words.
The piano parts are the only element in this mix that feels even remotely indulgent in the big picture, and while I would have toned their presence down – specifically in the chorus – I also wouldn’t hold this against Wyman too harshly. It’s obvious to he was trying to structure an instrumental equilibrium centered on bombast in “Memories of You,” and while it came out a little more jagged than it probably should have been, the motivation is as pure as anyone could have asked for in this particular instance. Again, the muscularity in this track alone makes it stand out in its genre, and in future recordings, I can see this duo finding a way to even out the rough edges without experiencing too many difficulties.
For listeners who crave composers who like to think outside of the box all of the time, Rich Wyman and Lisa Needham’s now-growing discography of melodic decadence should be considered a must-listen in 2022. “Memories of You” is Wyman’s most recent staple, but if history has taught us anything about who this songwriter is, I wouldn’t count on this being the last time he releases a single and music video that provokes a strong reaction from audiences both in and outside of his local circuit; especially with Needham by his side.
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