“Vertigo” by Tess Posner
Before I even looked up her influences, I could tell that fans of Florence and the Machine would fall under the spell of power pop and EDM-laced singer and songwriter Tess Posner. In the new track “Vertigo” while all signs point to a cacophony of sounds in all direction, Posner’s vocals and sprite melodies have the listener reaching higher and higher in her ecstasy. “Vertigo” is a hauntingly-beautiful track that lets the lister linger in her sweet vapors, hovering at every note.
Posner, who lives in California, has a richness in her voice that is both in the realm of Florence Welch and Tori Amos. Fans of Lana Del Rey might also travel down the rabbit hole to discover more of Posner’s discography. Her previous releases include “Ashes”, “Ocean”, “Never Had A Lover So Cold” and “The Mask”.
Lyrically, “Vertigo” travels into some interesting spaces. Just the weather to put on a sweater, I remember, Posner sings contemplatively. The listener is immediately drawn into a rainy day, a dreariness. As the song continues, a soothing, yet dramatic piano trickles through the lyrics, like water seeping through a yard bank. Just under this layer is a blanketed violin string arrangement. At first listen, it might feel haunting or gray, but after a few listens, there’s a happiness and underlying joy that shines through the cracks. As Posner’s narrative struggles for answers, the chorus vertigo, vertigo, no-ooo, nobody knows, nobody knows sounds more like a personal triumph. A step forward in sharing her story to the world.
The line I feel everything changes, the world I know is fading encapsulates for the listener an a-ha moment. The listener is wrapped up in the sheer veil that Posner has created. She’s set the stage to open her heart and her soul to the listener, the words find deeper meaning with each layer. I felt triumphant and a bit melancholy on each listen, it switched back and forth for me. I think, like a coin, there’s two sides to this song and the struggle to grasp resolution can often lead a person into feeling like they have vertigo, falling all over themselves and nitpicking every word in their struggle. This song didn’t make me feel low, though, it made me feel light and weightless. I felt like Posner’s voice lifted me up like a bird’s wings, and her words came together in “Vertigo” like a tree. Each root stretches into the other and the lushness is dark green.
The percussion in this song really struts itself more during the chorus. Otherwise, the music bed is really a dance between the piano and violin. The electronic drum beats are a nice juxtaposition to the organic, frail like sounds of the keys and strings. Posner’s vocals are simply beguiling. Her lyrical voice is just as powerful as her vocals. It would be easy to compare Posner to more empowered singers, but the true mark of an artist is to inspire the listener. In opening her heart, Posner has more than championed her listeners.