Music Review: Singing to Strangers by Jack Savoretti

After a long time, have I come across an artist who is not only extremely talented, but is a thorough, serious, dedicated musician. This is especially rare to find in today’s day and age when nearly all artists are more about the fame than the music! I can only say that I truly wish he hadn’t been “hidden away” for so long (not mainstream enough), as I feel like I have truly missed out on listening to some great music. I immediately purchased his brand new album Singing to Strangers, on the same day of first listening to it (and this does not happen very often to me either!) I am of course, talking about British Singer and Songwriter Jack Savoretti.

I have been listening to Singing to Strangers on repeat mode for the entire last week, since purchasing via Amazon Music (which is so easy to do, especially if you have your own Amazon account) and I just knew that I had to review the album. I also managed to listen to Jack live on the radio twice during the week, where he performed stunning acoustic versions of Candlelight (BBC2 radio Piano room) I haven’t been this excited about an album since Emeli Sande’s Our Version of Events which released in 2012. To me, the sign of a good album is one where you like all of the tracks and don’t have to skip any, and, you can also listen to the album on a loop and discover something new with each listen and Singing to Strangers has definitely had that effect on me!

Singing to Strangers album cover

Album Tracklsting:

1) Candlelight
2) Love is on the Line
3) Dying for Your Love
4) Better off Without me
5) What More Can I Do?
6) Singing to Strangers – Interlude
7) Youth and Love
8) Touchy Situation
9) Greatest Mistake
10) Things I Thought I’d Never Do
11) Going Home
12) Symmetry
13) Beginning of Us
14) Music’s Too Sad Without You – ft Kylie Minogue – live
15) Vedrai Vedrai / Oblivion – live from Venice

Just like a good old fashioned album, Jack has given us 15 songs, all of which appear to be near or over 4 minutes in song length which is also rare to find these days. Upon first glance at the song titles, one can tell that the theme of the album is romance, and that the songs explore each area of romance. I first came across Jack through his collaboration with Kylie Minogue and since then, he had been on my ‘to listen to’ list, and I couldn’t have chosen a better time to listen to his work, than the release of his brand new album.

The album opens with the powerful ballad Candlelight, a song which showcases Jack’s raw emotive vocals, to its fullest. I instantly fell in love with Candlelight as it is not only strong in music, but also strong lyrically. I would say listening to Candlelight is a very good introduction to Jack’s music and style, but is by no means a reflection of what he can create as a composer, as I found some of the later tracks to be even more powerful. But for sure, when the album opens with a track like this, you know you are in for a treat with the rest! I have particularly grown fond of the acoustic versions of Candlelight, which consist only of Jack’s vocals, his pianist and a violinist. With such a minimal sound, you still feel like you are transported to another world while listening to the acoustic version of the song and this shows the power of Candlelight’s melody.

Candlelight – BBC2 Piano room live

The next track Love is on the Line, is very different to Candlelight (which is more flirtatious), yet it still maintains Jack’s original style of keeping music at the forefront of the song. I feel you catch a glimpse of his Italian roots in this track, with the melodious violin intro and the part where he sings …same mistakes are made over and over and over again… Love is on the Line talks about the survival of a relationship Oh I wish that we were strong enough…to remember how we were before we tried… and once again, Jack has sung straight from his heart which is a quality that is evident throughout the album.

Dying for your Love is at number three on the album, and it is definitely my second favourite with its western cowboy style guitar rifts, and I am in complete awe of Jack’s ability to effortlessly sing such low notes (which is a natural struggle for many singers) ! I think Dying for your Love is probably the most romantic song of the entire album, as its lyrics truly capture a man’s feelings of falling in love at first sight. The song flows from start to finish and leaves a lasting impression on you.

Better off Without Me is track number 4 and this one is a song full of heartache, sorrow and love combined together. I never thought I would hear such a song, based on such a different side of love, in 2019. Music like this just isn’t readily available anymore and hats off to Jack for including this track on the album. He has recently mentioned during album promotions that no one has successfully guessed which track carries the Bob Dylan lyrics that he was given and I somehow feel Better off Without Me could be that track, or it could be Things I Thought I’d Never Do. I particularly love the piano intro in Better off Without Me, as the song opens on a soothing note, yet reveals so much pain through its lyrics and electric guitar rifts. Definitely one of my top favourite songs from the album.

Better off Without Me – live

The latest release from the album is the next track What More Can I Do? and once again, this track too, is brimming with music and the kind that we don’t get to hear much in today’s time. I am particularly fond of the bass that plays in the intro of the song, against Jack’s raw and deep vocals and as a pianist, I love the way in the acoustic performances of this song, the bass is replaced by the piano. What More Can I Do talks about still being in love with someone, even though they have the ‘other side’ to them, which can sometimes complicate feelings in a relationship. It is definitely a stand out track from the album.

What More Can I Do – live

To avoid making this review incredibly long, I will group the next songs to make my analysis easier to follow. The title track Singing to Strangers, Greatest Mistake, Things I Thought I’d Never Do and Beginning of Us, are all relatively slower paced tracks yet are brimming with love and romance in equal quantities, just like the first five of the album. They also almost feel like they are self confessional songs from Jack, particularly Things I Thought I’d Never Do. The title track of the album, most definitely sounds like Jack’s own thoughts about his career as a singer and this is also reflected in Going Home. The intro of Greatest Mistake reminds me of tubular bells and I love the self confessions of the lyrics of Great Mistake, which truly feel like a heartfelt apology and thanks …all my failures, my glories, I owe them all to you

Youth and Love, Symmetry and Touchy Situation are the three uptempo tracks from the album, and literally showcase an entirely different sound to Jack’s music, as not only are they more modern sounding, they will most likely appeal to the younger audiences, in particular Youth and Love which has a super funky groove/hookline.

Lastly, a special mention goes to Music’s too Sad without You and Vedrai Vedrai/Oblivion. Music’s too Sad without You is Jack’s duet with pop sensation Kylie Minogue and what is unique about this collaboration, is the fact that we get to hear a more serious and mature side to Kylie. It is a beautiful duet and is about two people who are in love, yet are apart and therefore can’t listen to music without each other. Vedrai Vedrai is a live recording of Jack performing an Italian song (I am rather clueless about Italian music so will not elaborate too much here unnecessarily) and it has been wonderfully sung, yet has more music to it than vocals, but is a great way for Jack to pay homage to his Italian roots on this fantastic album.

As a first time listener of Jack and his music, I have been completely blown away by Singing to Strangers as it is such a pure and sincere work of art and I know it is an album that I will be listening to for a very, very long time. As a pianist myself, I am also super happy to hear an album that is piano heavy, but for all the right reasons. Because of this, I give the album 4.5/5 stars and it is no surprise, that it has become the number 1 album in the UK (since a week of its release and at the time of writing) and I can only genuinely and truly wish Jack and his musicians more such success for the future! If you do listen to the album, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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