Mario Ferrini is back this summer with one of his sweetest ballads to date, “Missing You,” and he’s bringing Nathan Brumley and the acclaimed Frik n Chic along for the ride. “Missing You” has a hearty spring in its step that conflicts with its somewhat melancholic melodicism, and even though it sports an impeccably experimental sound in a season that has been all about minimalism and simple, straight-laced pop music, its originality makes it an instant ear-catcher for fans of sophisticated audio everywhere. Ferrini has wowed us with some striking harmonies in the past, but he pulls out the big guns for this collaboration with Brumley and Frik n Chic, which could be described as being one of the sleeker crossover singles to see release this June.
You can tell that there’s a genuine emotional investment on the part of the players in this track; the passion in the vocal is incredible, but that isn’t where the magic ends by a longshot. The bittersweet crooning pins together the elegant guitar plucking with the rebellious wallop of the percussion, leaving just enough room for the lyrics to slice through anything that gets in the song’s path. The chorus is aggressively fashioned with an extra layer of treble, making it sound even more fragile and innocent than it would have. There was a lot of time and effort put into stylizing “Missing You,” and I really think that the production value of this single will be a key talking point among critics this year.
The last few months have been rife with overproduced indie pop making its way to the surface from the depths of a stagnating underground, but Ferrini’s latest release is much more concise and focused than its counterparts on the mainstream side of the dial have been. The drums never fall apart or drift into unnecessary discord, and the angelic harmonies of the acoustic guitar don’t give way to some virtuosic solo at the climax of the song. Ferrini and his studio partners in “Missing You” are too smart for that sort of nonsense; if there’s one thing that this man is better at than most any of his peers in or out of Europe are at the moment, it’s following a defined aesthetical code whilst avoiding the pitfalls of overindulgence at every turn.
I can’t wait to hear more from Mario Ferrini as he embarks on this next era in his career, and in the eight years that have passed since he first caught the attention of American journalists like myself with Just Dance, he has grown into an amazingly skilled songwriter, producer and performer who is more than capable of carrying a project with or without the aid of likeminded session musicians. He’s on a roll with “Missing You,” and my gut tells me that this is going to be the single to put his moniker into the spotlight of an international pop scene that has been hungry for an entertainer of his charisma to come out of the woodwork in 2019. This could be his big moment, and if it is, he picked the right song to serve as a celebratory soundtrack.
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