Cynthia Basinet - 'Biggest Fool of All'
By Vai Thomas
The saying "calm before the storm" doesn't usually fit with singer-songwriters. Typically, the "storm" part happens first when they're trying to find inspiration. After that, they put their emotions into music theory and genre with growing confidence. And the subsequent emotional quotient of the fully-fledged song is immediately apparent to the listener who can gauge the intentions of the singer and the songwriter: with the onus being on the arrangement and performance to breathe life and zest into the lyrical themes to root itself deeply into the listener’s minds. Creativity and skill and purpose matter, and these are traits that are found in droves in Los Angeles-based Cynthia Basinet’s newest single titled ‘Biggest Fool of All’.
Written in the key of D Major, "Biggest Fool of All" is a dreamy rendition arranged in the realms of smooth jazz and folk – a curiously mellow combination of elements, but one that never ceases to work. Utilizing a delightful verse-instrumental-verse format, the song is a rarity. Penned by writer Zach Mann, the number is lyrically themed upon taking to the ‘long and winding road’ with memories being deeply etched on the mind (the latter containing a glorious wistfulness about it). Right from the very first plucking of the acoustic guitar, to the warm mix of the drums, and the counterpoint melodies of the fiddle (which almost acts like a second vocal element in this number), the arrangement is brilliant. Bestowed with a catchy melodic topline and lyrics like ‘It won’t matter what I do or say, your memory knows…’ and ‘a dream at least is a story never ending’ that are replete with poignancy and sheer honesty without ever needing to resort to metaphor.
Vocally, Mann’s songwriting is greatly uplifted by Basinet’s contralto vocals which hit that D below the middle C with impeccable consistency driven by purpose, rendering a warm and at times glassy vocal timbre, particularly at the moments the vocal harmonies are heard at an octave higher. It is Basinet’s vocals that transform this genuinely good number into an impeccable one – one with the capacity for listener recall. The melodic topline itself, written straight using the notes and chords from the D natural major scale, is thankfully devoid of over-experimentation which could have hindered the performer. Instead, listeners can be fully mesmerized by Basinet's emotionally driven rendition. And the manner of instrumental arrangement deserve their fair share of upliftment as well, with the electric, bass and acoustic guitars all playing to their utter strengths and mixed spaciously to render the number dreamy. These instruments act as a supporting act to Basinet’s contralto vocals as does the fiddle which has a special spot under the sun reserved solely for itself in the form of an instrumental solo that is near-pentatonic and gloriously wistful as befitting the lyrical themes and vocals. The mixing and the balance of the instrumental elements deserve to be commended as well, for they present a fully-rounded taster of the aural frequency spectrum, with each instrument shining in its own space without invading the other, while being amalgamated in sheerly coherent fashion.
At a duration of three minutes and thirty-six seconds, "Biggest Fool Of All" is a big winner and a stunning addition to the realms of folk and smooth jazz as it successfully captures the listener and takes them down the afore-mentioned long and winding road replete with variations in dynamics and emotions, and hence a superb way to spend spend three minutes and thirty-six seconds of your life (if you love impeccable music).
About Cynthia Basinet
While Cynthia’s vibrant career has seen her walk the runways of Europe in print, commercials and hit the screens as an actress, her jazz style vocals starting with her first hit sultry “Santa Baby” have always been a form of self-expression that listeners across the world have connected with. Away from her musical achievements, Cynthia has strived to make changes for the world, aiding the Saharawi people at refugee camps in Western Sahara, and advocating fair rights, including the current strike of union workers in the entertainment industry. She has even written a book, “How To Be Civil In An Uncivil World”, and hosts a podcast, “The World According to Cynthia”. Whether she inspires people through her activist work or through her music, Cynthia Basinet’s dedication has won over the hearts of many and will continue to do so for a long time. For more information on Cynthia Basinet, please visit her website.