In the midst of an increasingly hostile political atmosphere, our society is at war with itself. Endless controversies within the government, activist groups sparring with discrimination; these are merely freckles on the blemished face of America. We need unity in this time of division. We need to consider our actions before acting. Truthfully, we need a change.
Following Christina Aguilera’s single concerning the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, her protégé Alisan Porter, released a “Change” of her own. Co-written with Jason Reeves, Jordan Lawhead and Jon Levine, the second song off of Porter’s upcoming EP helps wipe away the tears that our nation has been shedding for a long time.
This track blends country, gospel and pop to call attention to a lack of love and compassion. The melody is carried by a semi-walking drum and guitar combo, which even features a pinch of funk. Throughout the song’s opening, its tempo is at a perfect pace for Porter to address the prevalence of division and lack of action in our world. The opening lyrics, “Everybody’s worried about the world going crazy/But nobody wants to do a thing about it lately”, pinpoint similar observations that Michael Jackson sang about in “Man in the Mirror”. Jackson brought forth his belief that we can and should change our world by improving ourselves, and helping others to do the same. By calling attention to this unfortunate issue today, Porter invites us to become aware of society’s inaction.
In addition to solid musical and lyrical work in the verses, Porter shines with her production in the chorus. The music isolates the downbeats of the drums, allowing for greater emphasis on Porter’s message. As the guitar slowly transitions into a few here-and-there strokes, the gospel behind her lights up with the drums. Her message, “I know these days everybody’s ready for a change” acknowledges a readiness for change and calls others to strive towards unity. Furthermore, slowing the tempo while exploding with her upper register perfectly highlights the urgency of the change she wants to develop.
Being equipped with powerful vocal abilities and a solid arrangement are not enough on their own to create an impact. When breaking this piece down to the nitty-gritty, its imagery and passion make it most effective. Porter’s symbolism of breaking walls between people and building a stairway to heaven encapsulates everything that equality and peace represents. This, connected with a soul that hurts to be surrounded by discrimination and hatred, is truly at the heart of this single. Her drive, vocal brilliance and musical arrangements are very well calculated, and touch upon the very foundation of change.
After listening to “Change” on repeat for consecutive hours, my ears detected some components that could certainly use a change themselves. For starters, the tempo fluctuates fairly often, yet the melody itself stays predominantly the same. The single could be improved by adding 1-2 guitar solos between transitions from the chorus to the verses. Not only would this alteration coincide with the theme of change, but the melody would have extra elbow grease to support the grit of Porter’s vocals. Aside from providing more to the music, the final 43 seconds of the track are filled with complete silence. So, I’m not sure if that was an error, or if she wanted a 43 second mic drop…
With only two weeks until her EP comes out, Porter is on her way to making a name for herself. While she has yet to outdo her original single “Down That Road”, which debuted on “The Voice” last year, her passion for singing and creating meaningful messages continues to shine through her music. Her genre range is limitless, and her potential to carry any tune is higher than most. Even though she still has room to grow in her composition, Porter’s vocals and dedication to making a positive impact on our daily lives are attributes that fans will forever cherish.
Pop l Moonchild Music