Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Susan Calloway - Time for This

Susan Calloway - Time for This

Hailing from the Motor City, Susan Calloway’s path through modern music has led her to occupy some of the world’s great stages from London, Tokyo, and New York City. She’s earned a great deal of much deserved success from her contribution to the Final Fantasy video game franchise with the song “Answers” and that collaboration with producer Gerard Smerek continues with the singer’s latest single “Time for This”. If this isn’t a personal bit of songwriting, Calloway certainly treats it as a full representation of personal experience. The song clocks in at a little less than four minutes, but the spartan arrangement and the power of Calloway’s vocals invokes an entire universe of experience and emotion far dwarfing its relatively brief duration. Smerek’s production brings together the narrow range of musical elements in an intensely artful fashion; some might think that so few instruments in the mix might make this production a sure thing, but fewer sonic bases to address doesn’t mean a day off for a song’s architects. Even the most sparsely arranged tracks can still fall flat. There’s no danger of that here. 

The vocals are, obviously, why we are here. There’s a physical presence Calloway’s capable of manifesting the conflicting emotions of the speaker with every bit of the same impact as the piano playing. It creates a dialogue of sorts between Calloway and the atmospheric melodic strengths filled in by the piano. The keys bring a winding, strongly circular quality to the performance that’s formal without ever sounding ornate and Calloway’s smoky emotiveness strikes a strong contrast with the arrangement. Calloway’s accompaniment hits the right peaks at all of the right moments and it gives “Time for This” a rising and falling sense of theatricality many listeners will love. It is impossible to hear the musical work on this track and not admire its skill. 

Calloway is a very beautiful woman and brings a definite veneer of sensual allure to an otherwise emotionally wrought performance. She has rare qualities for a modern singer. The blues influence in her vocals is extraordinarily powerful and she’s able to manipulate it at will to maximum effect.  She carries each line with enormous focus, elongating all the right words, pushing the lyric when she needs to. It’s a lyric that couldn’t be any better suited for the performance. Every word seems tailored to lock in tight with the musical accompaniment. From a writing point of view, it’s clear the song wants to accurately represent the experience of the track but carefully weighs each order to do the situation justice. “Time for This” accomplishes a lot through plain-spoken honesty and a near perfect marriage of lyric, vocal, and music under one banner. Susan Calloway has earned the considerable mainstream attention she’s already received and this song promises further exposure. “Time for This” gets Susan Calloway’s 2017 off to an excellent start and the year has scarcely begun.  

Bradley Johnson

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