Blue for Black’s new single “The Elegant Charade”

Saturated with a colorful harmonization that could make a fan out of even the most discriminating of critics this May, Blue for Black’s new single “The Elegant Charade” isn’t a product of the ongoing minimalist pop movement in the international pop underground. Its construction is steeped in a liberal attitude towards melodic songcraft, and even when it’s treading familiar compositional waters, it never sounds even somewhat derivative of a mainstream sound. “The Elegant Charade” is, in some ways, sublimely rigid in a few of its most important spots, but in others, it’s so smooth and fluid that words like ethereal can’t help but come to mind. This is intriguing alternative music if I’ve ever heard any before, and although it doesn’t challenge the pedigree of its genre with the same degree of rebelliousness that an avant-gardist’s material would, its stylization is still very experimental in all the ways that count for something. Blue for Black is tending to a very exciting fire in this track, and having gotten lost in its sonic blaze just recently, I can vouch for its being one of the hottest songs of its kind out this month.

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The lead vocal in “The Elegant Charade” is more like a whisper than a serenade, but I don’t think it needed to be any louder in the grander scheme of things to make a substantial impact on the narrative. Lyrics are nothing without the right voice to bring them to life, and on this end, Blue for Black is remarkably clean, cut and dry with his execution (ultimately yielding us a filler-free performance).

There’s a very muscular instrumental melody in this track that contrasts heavily with the fragile nature of the verses, and frankly, it’s this aesthetical contradiction that supplies some of the biggest thrills between the single’s beginning and end. It would be interesting, at least for a critic like myself, to hear some of the rough cuts Blue for Black recorded prior to presenting us with this polished take on “The Elegant Charade,” as I have a strong feeling they would support his diverse persona as a performing artist.

I wasn’t aware of Blue for Black before getting a glimpse at this new single just recently, but “The Elegant Charade” is definitely an intriguing introduction to his sound. In the last few years, there’s been a spike in postmodernity in pop music that anyone who follows the genre hasn’t been able to ignore, and to some extent, this track takes some of the fractured elements from the movement as a whole and streamlines them for the needs of the occasional pop fan. There are some cerebral components in “The Elegant Charade” that I really think Blue for Black needs to consider experimenting with just a little more than he did here in the future, but whatever the case may be, I’m going to keep his output on my radar throughout the next year. This is a fantastic time to be a music enthusiast, and underground players like this one are the primary reason why.

Michael Rand

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