Taylor Jules’ New Single “MIA”.

You can’t deny the power of Taylor Jules’ new single “MIA”. This deep, personal reflection on the songwriter’s lifelong struggle with avoidance anxiety opens her heart in a way that few other musical artists dare. We are rewarded with an intensely human listening experience further burnished by its musical excellence. This unflinching glimpse into Jules’ psyche isn’t diary-like but, instead, glows with the power and potential inherent in any transformative work of art. It balances the personal and universal with singular aplomb.

“MIA” is the first in a series of new tracks helmed by two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Marc Swersky. Swersky brings years of accumulated production experience to bear on the development of “MIA”, and there’s no question it would be a lesser listening experience without him. However, the buck ultimately stops with Jules regarding the song’s excellence. She’s penned a fully immersive musical and lyrical work that bewitches listeners with its raw honesty and satisfying aural merits.

The latter is especially crucial. The confluence of piano, guitar, and drums is the keystone for appreciating Jules’ accomplishment. Relying on a fluid tapestry of electric guitar and elegant piano as her chief musical support pays immediate dividends. The drumming punctuates “MIA” with stately muscle yet never threatens to sound heavy-handed. Great care has been taken crafting an arrangement that moves listeners as much as Jules’ lyrics while providing an entertaining musical landscape. It goes a long way toward sweetening the otherwise tumultuous inner world she invokes.

Her vocals are equally important for that goal. There is a soothing quality in Jules’ singing that strikes a stark contrast with the song’s often agonized reflections. She looks back in tranquility, having survived the turmoil, and it helps “MIA” hit an ultimately hopeful and triumphant note. This isn’t a sad song. It is intense, there’s no doubt, but doesn’t sound mired in despair. Its very existence alone gives it a stirring life-affirming spark.

That spark gives the song an improbable lift from the beginning. It hinges on percussion that enlivens the arrangement’s dramatic bite. The playing is deliberate rather than slapdash. However, it never sounds overly rehearsed and has a bracing live quality that should translate well into a live setting. “MIA” harbors excellent potential as an in-concert number. Only minimal adjustments are needed to bring this track off for a live audience, and it should not depart much from the spirit and intent of the recording.

Taylor Jules’ new single checks off every box. Moreover, it has a wide-reaching appeal; even listeners who have never suffered from anxiety disorders should still relate to the vibrant humanity underpinning the writing. Jules is an immensely skilled artist who has just started scratching the surface of her capabilities. Future releases should further illuminate the limits of her gifts, but based on “MIA”, her potential seems boundless. Let’s expect her to continue building on what she’s forged with this new release and look forward to a luminous future. To say it is promising is quite an understatement.

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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