Lindsay Munroe’s latest single, River, attempts to use the metaphor of the eponymous river in a way that no other namesake track has done before; not Bruce Springsteen or even the mighty Good Charlotte.
The heavenly opening chord instantly soothes and establishes a gentle, natural tone, just in time for the angelic vocals to come in and compliment the introduction perfectly. However, a sharper ear would detect a hint of melancholy. The words Munroe uses cleverly identifies the all-encompassing nature of water in a river as it grows in volume, as well as the delicate, shallow parts when it becomes narrow. The singer’s own unique story is similar to that of a stream flowing; taking its own path.
There is a clever alternating narrative on the singer’s approach to describing her own experiences; in the perspective of a river. The singer uses short statements as the basis of her lyrical content, explaining the steps she took to help whatever they were experiencing. That, and the repetition of the vocal pattern, amplifies the emotive element that drives the song. However, once we get to each chorus, we go back to the divine, classical-like soaring notes, claiming “she knows the way to go”, which could be a number of references. What is clear is the personification of the river aims to compare the willingness and powerful water currents that eventually find the sea to the emotion that overwhelms decisions in stressful situations, but retaining the belief that nature will take its course. When we get to the chorus, this knowledge and confidence in the river allows the singer to belt out those notes free of anxiety, as “she knows the way to go”.
The overall production has been executed well, and there are very few faults to take umbrage with. It allows for a calming background track to daily activities or as a channel of emotion that can take you on a journey through the ebbs and flows of the river. The arrangement of the music is simple but effective. When the bridge comes in, almost as if the singer has relinquished all power to the water, it falls into a drifting melody that compels imagery of floating in an open ocean. However, towards the end of the section, there brings a slightly depressed tone that reminds us that all is not as well as it seems. The vocalist is the driver in River, and only when the singing returns is when the melancholy comes back, anchoring that emotional journey that the song is acting as a vessel to.
A beautifully written song, a well-arranged accompaniment and a nicely produced track proves for a great single. An essence of an early Florence And The Machine, mixed with the sensory pleasure of Kate Bush. Worth a listen. River by Lindsay Munroe is out now.