Seductive but controlled to the extent of never sounding even slightly overindulgent beside the other melodic components in the song, the vocal harmony that powers Will Jordan’s “Back to Me” is heart-melting beyond compare and undisputedly reason enough to check out the single and its music video this fall. Emerging from Tacoma, Washington and looking to undercut the mainstream competition with a KEXP-friendly selection of grooves in his new album Be Good, Jordan unleashes one of his most endearing tracks to date in this brilliant studio cut. This is an elegant centerpiece for his current discography, and judging from its ambitious design, not likely to be the only hit he scores in this new decade.
The style of the mix here reminds me a lot of Massive Attack’s “Protection,” albeit not quite as mathy on the surface. The instrumentation clandestinely follows after the verse like shadows trailing two lovers slowing disappearing into the twilight, but there’s scarcely an instance in which it isn’t imparting just as much emotionality to us as any of the lyrics would (and do). Juxtaposition is everything in contemporary alternative music, and in this sense, “Back to Me” is more of a masterpiece than its meat-and-potatoes beat would initially have us believe.
Aside from the simple construction of the rhythm in this track, the percussive textures dotting the backdrop here are physical but understated, unquestionably adding to the mood and increasing the tension as we wrap around to the chorus. Jordan’s vocal is surrounded by their unbreakable cadence, alluding to a vulnerability he isn’t necessarily comfortable with (a theme afforded to the highly-cinematic music video’s conclusion). The clash of the consistent with the admittedly uncertain creates some positive sonic combustion on more than a couple of occasions, and that kind of excitement has been mostly absent from the mainstream side of the dial in recent months.
Undeniably one of my favorite new singles of the autumn season so far, Will Jordan’s “Back to Me” is a solid listen from top to bottom that doesn’t ask anything in exchange for a wealth of catharsis you didn’t even know you needed. Jordan is definitely one of the more promising voices I’ve come across in an increasingly lackluster Northwest music circuit, and if he can maintain the prowess he’s demonstrating in this song and its bold parent album, I don’t see him remaining within the confines of an insular underground scene for much longer.