Echo Me, the project of Danish singer songwriter Jesper Madsen, has released a fantastically catchy, acoustic pop single. “Cynical” explains to the listener in a light-hearted manner what it means to be plagued by negative thoughts and when to question them.
The track starts off with some pleasant acoustic chord plucking and melodic vocalizations. The verse jumps in quickly, but not unexpectedly. The listener already knows what the song is about from the title, but the first line puts it into context. “Oh you are like a friend to me” Madsen sings, setting up the theatrical dynamic between himself and his cynical self right away. It’s a narrative device that works to captivate the listener, a kind of lyrical bait.
A listener ought to realize that something else is at play here. Independent of the lyrics, Madsen’s smooth, brooding voice is paired with a catchy 21st century pop melody. The combination of all three give the track great potential.
Madsen playfully treats cynicism like an old friend
When the chorus does chime in, it’s is intensified by electronic drums and percussion which gives the listener something to dance to. It’s at this point when I realize that this song is meant for radio play. The balance between pop production, tight arrangement, and approachable lyrical content is great for a pop single. Approachable lyrics is not synonymous with banal or unserious subject matter.
“…as if to highlight that he can do it without all of the trimmings of pop production”
Madsen playfully treats cynicism like an old friend who sees the world in black and white. With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to slip into depressive thinking, yet Madsen rejects this. “Though you are oh so good to me, I sometimes feel that your truth ain’t real”.
The last minute and a half of the track are reiterations of the catchy chorus. During one of those times, everything drops out for a moment where it is only Madsen and his acoustic guitar, as if to highlight that he can do it without all of the trimmings of pop production. It’s a nod to his heroes as a songwriter, for which listeners are grateful. The man can sing.