On the Austin singer’s Youtube channel, Landon Gadoci – having announced the release some weeks ago – has uploaded the audio of a single, “Tie Me Up,” one which, suggestive as it is of the opening of a new chapter in his musical career, was worth waiting for, and it’s been added to the playlist. (It is not quite clear whether an actual video will also be forthcoming; if and when one is offered, I shall substitute it.)
In collaboration with the Irish musician Des Mallon, who, amongst his other hats, is a producer at the English label Infrasonic, Gadoci has fashioned a tune that, much like the duet with Nicole di Gioacchino which preceded it, vibrates with the particular mixture of assurance and uncertainty that one often encounters amongst the generation of those now in their twenties and which often seems to be nearly their second nature; and this attitude, here even more explicitly than in the previous one, seems to be what this song is actually about, due in part to the intelligent lyrics, which were written and are sung so as to pitch some surprises at those who listen more closely, and in part to the careful arrangements, which are polished with finishing touches of studied artlessness – their style thus comprising a sort of sonic sprezzatura – in order to keep such listeners just a little off-balance.
Or more than just a little, for in fact, in the course of the song, several syncopes are introduced: when for instance the number of syllables in the last lines before the refrain is unexpectedly truncated, or when entire words are accentuated not with regard to their meaning but as though in so doing the aim were to multiply and to echo vocally the underlying regularities of the bass. Not to mention the utilisation of vocal elements instrumentally in the higher registers (for the first time beginning at the 2:55 mark), a feature which contributes considerably to the tune’s overall appeal precisely because it is brought to bear suddenly, as though from out of nowhere, and yet then works so well in conjunction with the others.
This is a jaunty song that’s not so much meant to dance as it is to walk to – in a stroll that’s smooth and swaggering by turns, a promenade that speeds up, slows down, turns around, and retraces its steps, as though in response to whatever’s met with on the way, perhaps in something of the manner of the Italian passeggiate, though it moves at an altogether more rapid rate than theirs.
It is noteworthy that there’s no talk of love in “Tie Me Up,” but rather of lust: as though to imply that what used to go under the name of the first, has in our time been transformed into the second, that is, a physical, metabolic need of the human organism requiring swift satisfaction much like any other, in a period like the present that simply must hasten if it is to keep pace with its own technologies.
And the song’s nominal theme, the relinquishment of control, may provoke some thought as well – in acquiescing voluntarily to an inclination to which one would end up submitting anyhow, does one not at least preserve the modicum of dignity conferred by having willed it? (Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas.)