LA (US) based artist, Leo Dolan, has just released his latest single, You’re Not Special, and it’s a heartfelt and lyrically emotional song that we’ve taken a few listens to here today at the Send Me Your Ears studio.
Starting with some gentle and interesting percussion (think Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight), You’re Not Special is a song about what he describes as the “weirdly universal feeling of uniqueness”. He speaks to the idea that almost everyone has to learn that perhaps they’re not that unique and are just another face in the crowd. Sobering stuff, and Dolan freely admits that he has experienced a history of addiction and eventual embrace of sobriety imbued with the emotional loss and catharsis that only comes with surrender.
The song develops well with lots of different instrumentation and lots of things happening at any given time. There’s always something you can hone in and listen to and each instrument is given plenty of space to shine.
We like the rise and fall of this track and how the verses fall back to the simple percussion with acoustic guitar panned to the left. The electric guitar solo has hints of Chris Rea’s “On The Beach” and fills out the spaces between the vocal lines nicely.
There’s some lo-fi sections within the track where the drums and acoustic guitars are unaffected and panned left. The effects come and go and are used sparingly enough to make the track truly unique and interesting to listen to.
There’s some great effects on the vocals too which come in and out. The repeated “I’m Not Special” at the end of the track with extra effects being added to the vocals was particularly cool!
With some unexpected chord changes and the landscape of this track always has something interesting for the listener to focus on. We feel this would be a good track to be considered for a sync deal – perhaps for background music in a TV show. Lots of music supervisors are seeking out this style of “bedroom pop” at the moment.
From a production perspective, a cut around 1000Hz in the vocal track would remove some of the honky or nasal tones, probably picked up during the recording process. We loved the way the instruments came in and went again and the way the effects such as reverb and delay were used more sparingly such as to highlight a particular line or section.
You’re Not Special is an art-pop/ singer-songwriter track that clearly takes influences from multiple genres and is a song with a message that many will be drawn to. We’re looking forward to hearing what Leo does next!