In this romantic duet for one, Atwood artist-to-watch Dayglow explores a love story that almost was.
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Stream: “Close to You” – Dayglow
I want to talk about Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” And I implore you: don’t close this song review; this isn’t a rickroll.
If you swat away the pervasive shroud of late aughts internet memes surrounding Astley’s 1987 chart-topper, you’ll be left with an infectious music video where a 21 year old whimsically dances to some 1980s drums and synths. Flashforward to 2021 and you’ll find independent singer-songwriter Sloan Struble, better known as bedroom-pop creation Dayglow. Building off of his continually mounting success from debut album Fuzzybrain, Struble enters 2021 with “Close to You”, his first song in two years. Delivering a clear homage to ’80s anthems (anthems like Astley’s), Struble (like Astley) released the song alongside an infectious music video where a 21 year old whimsically dances to an ’80s groove. But then you look at Struble’s lyrics, and the parallels diverge.
There’s something on my chest
I wish I would’ve said
(I think it over and it might be true)
(I’m only overthinking when I’m close to you)
The lyrics for “Never Gonna Give You Up” and many of its fellow ’80s anthems (“Take on Me”, “What’s Love Got to Do with It”) center around someone coming forward and spilling their heart out to a romantic interest. Lyrics like these give witness to some climactic moment of transparency and communication happening in a relationship. But this isn’t the case with “Close to You”. As Struble tells Atwood, “the song itself is about the tension between two people at a party that never said hello.” It’s about almost getting that meet-cute with someone new, missing that chance, and experiencing “the let down that always comes afterwards”: the reality that it’s just you and your thoughts of what could have been.
There’s something quite refreshing and grounded about Struble’s take here, focusing on the almost.
“We locked eyes from a distance / So close but I missed it.” Indeed, the almost is far more likely than the burgeoning, fantastical love stories often seen in songs. Yet the almost (and the hypothetical what-ifs that ripple out from it) doesn’t usually make it into songs. Struble leans into the almost. He sings parenthetical thoughts in falsetto throughout the track, interweaving them with his more traditional vocals to effectively craft a duet between himself and his mind. He normalizes the almost, carving out a “danceable yet melancholy” anthem for anyone dwelling on that hello they didn’t say, that thing they didn’t do, that shot they didn’t take. We’ve all been there at some point. At least now we can dance to it.
Dayglow, the beautiful brainchild of Struble, initially graced the music scene with Fuzzybrain and its ten tracks that, to this day, continue to climb the charts. Struble now continues to impress with “Close to You”, showcasing Dayglow’s ongoing growth and talent. Make no mistake: “Close to You” may transport us back to the ’80s, but it only further catapults Struble into the spotlight.
:: stream/purchase “Close to You” here ::
Stream: “Close to You” – Dayglow
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