Kevin Zarnett describes himself as a musician who "writes uncool songs for the uncool,”but I feel that he's selling himself short there. I'm all for self-deprecating banter, but I'm going to be much more serious about Zarnett's talent. He's a colorful artist who paints bright and bubbly pictures through his lyrics and twangy, upbeat melodies. His latest single, “Letting You Break My Heart" is a wonderful little tune. It opens with an absolutely scorching guitar riff, sounding like something from a classic group such as Queen or Zeppelin. And then, truly surprising me, that classic rock sound transitions into something sweet and laidback. A summery, glistening ballad, more akin to one of the Beatles' baroque-pop masterpieces. It's a song that's oozing with emotion. As Zarnett himself said, he seeks to offer "soulful snapshots of love, loss, and longing.” I love his soothing, tender vocals. There are some truly pretty harmonies throughout the song. They mesh so well with the gentle drum beat and sparkly guitars. I'm running out of adjectives to describe the raw, bubbly nature of the guitar-playing. Baroque-pop, I feel, really does summarize what makes the guitar playing so fun and upbeat. There's nothing better than a talented performer who can also write a song that's full of hooks and melodies which really stick in a listener's head. It would've been enough to appreciate a talented guitar player and singer, but Zarnett has also impressed me with a song that's, above all else, just a really well-written piece of music. Of course, whilst this Ontario-based musician might offer an engaging pop piece that's full of catchy hooks and dreamy melodies, to entice listeners old and new, there's no doubt that Zarnett exhibits a complexity to his performance. And the technicality of his songwriting wasn't lost on me either. The twinkling guitar arpeggios that mesh with each other in glorious, intricate layers are absolutely beautiful. I always love a pop-rock artist who doesn't settle for simplicity and safety. Don't get me wrong -- I love simple songs when they utilize a stripped-back approach in a creative way, but Zarnett is the perfect example of nailing the other end of the scale. He manages to interweave such detailed melodies in a wonderfully hypnotic way, but the song never loses its magnetic, melodic core. It's still, at its heart, a pop song. And it's a great one, at that.
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