Vân Scott issues a potent, slow-churning R&B crossover cut in his new single “Tough Love” that works just as well for occasional pop listeners as it does diehard dance-addicts in the mood for something a little more pendulous and seductive than the status quo normally calls for this September. Utilizing a dagger-like percussive section and a lightly hushed melody that is one part synthetization and another part natural, key-based tonality, Scott pulls out all of the stops in his effort to win our hearts in this brand new composition, which I would describe as being his most well-rounded release so far.

URL: https://www.vanscottmusic.com/

There are a lot of influences in play in this song, but at the same time, there’s nothing that comes off as scattered or unplanned in the big picture of the track at all. Scott is working his R&B-influenced grooves harder than he ever has in “Tough Love,” and though his fierce attack is an undebated linchpin of this performance, the elegant textures that he manipulates are just as much a product of contemporary pop standards as they are old school rhythm and blues at its most unvarnished. He knows who he is as a songwriter, and he’s not showing us anything but straightforwardness in his approach here.

The way that “Tough Love” was mixed is pretty basic, but this isn’t to say that the mix is lacking in production value when juxtaposed with the other elements that make up the foundation of the song. For the most part, Vân Scott stays out of the music’s way in this track – he doesn’t need to inject the hook with a lot of frills, because the composition that he’s come up with here is perfectly sterling in its own right. Anything more than what he did would have been over the top and repellent (as so many of his peers’ recent works have been).

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This isn’t the first time that a Vân Scott single has centered almost exclusively on the dynamics of his stellar vocal abilities, but it certainly feels like a unique excerpt of his ever-growing catalogue of sensational work behind the microphone. He doesn’t think twice about chasing after the big moments in this track – he goes for it every single time, maximizing the catharsis in the chorus or even in the buildup to the hook’s final eruptive appearance with a serenade that is befitting of an artist of his impressively high caliber.

I’ve been becoming increasingly familiar with the music that this impeccably skilled artist has been recording over the last year, and this is by far the best content bearing his moniker that I’ve had the pleasure of giving a spin. Scott is exploiting his God-given gifts for everything that they could possibly be worth in “Tough Love” while also highlighting just how committed he is to the craftsmanship of his medium (admittedly no easy feat by any critical measurement). I’ll be following his work closely as 2019 fades into 2020, and if you enjoy primetime pop wonderment as much as I do, I would tell you to do the same.

Nicole Killian

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