Chris Mardini has a lot on his mind, and he’s hashing it all out in the song “Retrospective Outlook,” In what amounts to some of the smartest alternative poetry I’ve heard in a while, Mardini doesn’t hold back in the introspective self-analysis that he engages in throughout “Retrospective Outlook,” and even though he’s got the attitude of a feisty young rocker, his vocal stylings are definitely on the more melodic side of the spectrum. This is efficient songwriting at its finest, and it’s coming from a 17-year old New Yorker (yes, you read that last part correctly).
The rap interlude in the middle of this track was, at first, a little strange for me to understand with respect to what Mardini was trying to create here, but after a few listens I started to grasp what he’s going for with the multitier arrangement of the song. By throwing different styles at us inside of the first one hundred seconds of play, we get a chance to observe his method of execution in action, no holds barred. No matter what he’s faced within “Retrospective Outlook,” he never backs down – his verses are spot-on every time.
These guitar tones are really warm and muscular, and I would even go as far as to say that they’ve got a lot more fat than I’ve heard in any other rock songs out this season. Producer Marc Swersky works diligently to make sure that we’re feeling the full effect of their wallop even when this single is played at a moderate volume, he goes out of his way to preserve the textural integrity of the strings while keeping the spotlight transfixed on the man of the hour – Chris Mardini.
When the tempo starts to slow down in “Retrospective Outlook,” the equalization on the vocal adapts to the altered pace of the music and hollows out the space between Mardini’s serenade and the bitter bass tones in the foreground, making the ensuing harmony all the more chilling than it already would have been. Between Swersky and mixer Mark Needham, there’s such keen attention to detail in this track that there’s scarcely a moment where we aren’t being presented with a smorgasbord of sonic treasures compiled into a single plunge of instrumentation. The bottom line? This song is elite in every way that matters, rookie release or not. Mardini’s music is going to stay in the collective conversation well past the year’s end. He’s one of the best artists to come into the fold this month, and I’m hardly the only critic saying as much right now.