In their latest single, titled “Second Chance,” adult contemporary-pop duo Different Moon explores bittersweet harmonies against a solidly melodic backdrop as accessible to the casual pop crowd as it would be to the more intellectually minded music enthusiast. Different Moon has been very busy since forming in 2015, releasing a slew of tracks, three EPs, and a searing sound that immediately garnered the interest of critics around the underground, and this new release greeting us in 2023 doesn’t disappoint those who had hoped to hear further creative development. A/C music has been seeing more and more smart crossovers come into the spotlight lately, and for my money, this act is one of the tougher listens to beat.
The vocal harmonies in “Second Chance,” much like those we heard in songs like “Unstoppable” and the brooding “Everything,” are the basis for almost every climactic moment featured in this single. There’s such a strong kinship between the melodies that come together seamlessly in the chorus, and yet the singing is never overpowering beside the instrumentation – no easy feat, particularly when taking into account how beefy this mix is, to begin with. Balance is essential to making this kind of true pop ballad work, and it’s something Different Moon seems to have down to a science.
As much as I like the vocal centerpiece in this single, the strings are just as powerful an agent of evocation in a few key moments here. They reinforce the emotionality of the verses without ever uttering a single word, simply by skewing the harmony we get from the singers with a touch of melancholy in their output when we’re least expecting to hear it. It presents the feeling of longing and inspires a sense of connection between these artists and their audience that isn’t achievable when relying on synthetic components in the studio.
I enjoy the lyrical premise of this song on its own, but without the tone of Different Moon’s delivery, I don’t know that these verses would be quite as moving as they are in this instance. The melodicism inviting us closer to the linguistic premise is making the story real for us without allowing for self-awareness to drift into the realm of self-indulgence, and if this pair’s contemporaries both in and outside of the adult contemporary scene could adopt the technique exhibited in “Second Chance” in their own work, the entire genre would probably be a lot better off for it.
If you’re a fan of light pop music and haven’t already been listening to Different Moon in the past few years, “Second Chance” is a single you won’t have a hard time getting into at all. 2023 is already off to a pretty fine start for music lovers everywhere, but if you’ve been paying attention to the indie pop underground you’re already aware of just how incredible a time it is for the genre. Indie acts like Different Moon are at the center of this new movement towards efficient balladry, and I think anyone who listens to this latest cut is likely to agree with me.
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