After releasing the sun-kissed “Let’s Talk About” and romantic ode “Nervous” in 2020, Toronto-based solo artist Flynn Tanner offers a darker, broodier single standing in tonal contrast to his earlier output. While many artists, myself included, hesitate to tackle modern life’s ongoing, seemingly cataclysmic struggles, like the pandemic, isolation, and various social justice movements–your favorite dystopian novel isn’t so fun when it’s real life, is it?–these subjects are exactly what Tanner embraces in “Save Me”, the latest track from an upcoming EP. Drenched in moody synths, flowing lines, and lyrics turning mundane then desperate for the tensions to end, the Toronto native reflects on isolation, describing a life “stuck inside my house” as one where the narrator is “waiting to be found.”
In the spring of 2020, Tanner had been splitting his time between Canada and Boston, where he is finishing his formal music education at Berklee. But like everyone else, he found himself at the mercy of increasing travel restrictions and unexpectedly moored in one place for longer than usual. No stranger to working solo–all his singles have been self-recorded and produced–Flynn turned that extra time and perhaps (lack of?) inspiration into “Save Me”, three minutes of chill pop that’s catchy enough to inspire sing-alongs, but moody enough to hint at the bigger tensions brewing underneath our everyday struggles, and represents a move towards tackling broader subjects than his past work. Lines like “it’s the Fourth of July / but I don’t know why”, perhaps in reference to last summer’s explosion of movements like Black Lives Matter that highlighted injustice, show steps forward from an artist to watch.
A step forward from an artist to watch, “Save Me” is available now wherever you stream music.
As social distancing continues with no end to the COVID-19 crisis in sight, it only makes sense to slow down. Toronto-based songwriter and instrumentalist Flynn Tanner is following up his energetic, sun-drenched “Let’s Talk About” (June 26, premiered here) with a second single, the reflective ballad “Nervous”. When so much in the world is wrong and unsettling, this song provides a sweet reminder of the romantic kind of jitters with someone who makes even the smallest moments magical.
The track opens with a simple bluesy guitar lick and a verse painting a quiet moment with broad strokes: All I want to see / when I open my eyes / is you lying next to me / you give me butterflies / holding my breath when you walk through my door / the feeling you get when you enter my car
A strengthening drumbeat carries the song to a chorus whose words put forth their own futility: I can’t explain it but you make me nervous / oh, I can’t describe how you still make me nervous.
Though we don’t know much about the object of the narrator’s affection or the specifics of their power, and more concrete language might have deepened the connection, the Berklee-educated Tanner uses quiet, universal moments to bring the listener into the relationship:
The way that I feel / even now that you’re mine / still feels like I’m seeing you for the first time / yeah you’re on my mind / my hands are shaking, no I can’t control / the feeling I get when your head’s on my pillow
Smooth synths and soaring background vocal echoes fill the second chorus and outro, a minute that leaves the listener to imagine what Tanner might be doing with those emotions. But overall, for a young artist eager to grow his audience, develop his solo projects, and find his footing in the modern space of indie rock-infused pop, “Nervous” will make a relatable ode to how even a seasoned love can feel new and exciting.
“Nervous”, Flynn Tanner’s second single off his forthcoming solo EP (releasing sometime in 2021), premieres today on SoundCloud and Spotify. Follow Flynn on Instagramand learn more about his next moves at his website.