- Bryon Harris
Haley Griffin - 'Ferris Wheels'
Review by Matt Wong & Staff
HaleyGriffin is an up and coming indie-pop artist from Wisconsin with original music that focuses on authenticity and self-love. Originally pursuing a career in English, Griffin's honest lyrics and storytelling present quality writing laced with poetry and imagery. Some of her lyrical icons include Kacey Musgraves, Kings of Convenience and Billy Joel. Griffin is a recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she held a vocal scholarship.
Her phenomenal debut single, "Ferris Wheels," was released May 10th.
“Ferris Wheels” begins with a gentle nylon string guitar part, followed by Griffin’s mesmerizing vocals on the first verse. Griffins voice is at once pure and pristine, yielding an ethereal, timeless beauty. "The cold air kisses your face bringing a blush to your cheek. Leaving a visible trace of what it cannot speak." Throughout the song, Griffin's vocals captivate with subtle, artistic nuance and deeply expressive phrasing for a moving music experience you won't soon forget. Slightly haunting, Griffin's vocal performance is gorgeous.
With the help of a little reverb, this arrangement of vocals and guitar have the presence of a full orchestra. The arrangement slowly builds, and listeners can soon hear background vocals, light percussion, and flute added subtly to mix. Bass and light drums enter on the chorus in a way that presents the top of the chorus as a grand statement to listeners.
The production continues to make clever use of reverb throughout the song to sculpt a sense of space and grandeur into the performance. The arrangement and the production are well thought out, and work together spectacularly to frame Griffin’s beautiful vocals. Griffin collaborated with producers Philip Etherington and Charlie Westphal on the track.
The lyrics in “Ferris Wheels” help listeners experience the freedom of a Ferris wheel ride through music. Although this is one of Griffin’s earlier songs in her catalog, the lyrics make full use of imagery and speak to listeners. On a deeper level, lyrics such as “Up there, you can see, the secrets we conceal, and maybe you feel free from what you feel” emphasize the idea of being present and free, even from what you feel.
“Ferris Wheels” is a beautiful song that employs a multitude of songwriting, arranging, and production techniques in a creative and musical way to take listeners on a journey to a higher plane, above the worries of the world. Griffin’s talent as both a vocalist and songwriter is unquestionable, and her performance on this song is simply outstanding. "Ferris Wheels" is a song you can get lost in and find peace. Shout out to producers Philip Etherington and Charlie Westphal on a top notch production.
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