REVIEW: Chris Donohoe — Let the Light In, Vol. 2 (EP)
So many of the pop artists to make waves in 2021 have been plagued by overstated themes in their music that when something barebones and focused does come around it’s a big deal, and Chris Donohoe’s new single “Let the Light In” may well qualify as such. From the moment we press the play button on this song forward, the beat that accompanies every melodic band of tension works to release some of the pressure and instill a sense of calm and hope in anyone within earshot of the music.
When Donohoe starts to sing, another layer of unrealized chaos in the arrangement falls apart, giving way to an explosion of light, love, and respect between artist and audience that is too rare a commodity this summer to be overlooked. There’s a desire to get away from the mundane and explore the unknown with eyes wide open in his voice, and whether we’re prepared to take the leap or not these words assure us a safe venture into dreamy catharsis around every twist and turn in the rhythm. “Let the Light In” is the title track and most definitive song found on Donohoe’s new EP, and I can definitely see why it’s getting the buzz it is right now.
The sentiments of the lyricism in this single feel directed solely at the listener and no one else as opposed to the inward self-analysis contained within the vast majority of Let the Light In, Vol. 2, but this isn’t to suggest a detachment between singer and song here at all. Contrarily, this track is the natural yin to the other material’s yang in giving us a full-spectrum dose of where Chris Donohoe is coming from this season.
The overall production quality is the most predictable element of “Let the Light In,” being that I already knew this player had a penchant for turning in nothing but the best-quality mixes he can afford to produce, but even this component of the release seems upgraded from the general status quo in the pop genre these days. The harmonies balance the ferocity of the beat nicely while the groove is always integral to our feeling the passion this vocal can deliver, and all of it is tangible to us because of both performance and studio efficiency of the most respected caliber.
There just aren’t many artists in pop quite like Chris Donohoe, and whether you deem him a traditionalist or just a detail-oriented musician, his new single “Let the Light In” and its parent record should both be considered must-listens this month. All five of the songs on Let the Light In, Vol. 2 show off the growth Donohoe has experienced since first dropping his debut album What Drives You all the way back in 2009, but for the best sampling of what its aesthetical soul is made of, this title cut is probably the track I would tell you to listen to before any other. It’s a love letter to pop buffs, and moreover, an age that needs more easy-listening music.