London-based singer-songwriter Jared Alto has shared his latest single, the haunting piano ballad ‘Stranger’.
‘Stranger’ is Alto’s third single after ‘Open’ and ‘Not the One’ were released earlier this year. Both those songs are slow, mournful piano ballads as well, meaning that Alto is either carving out a specific musical niche or is stuck in a heavily reverberating room with only a piano and someone needs to go check on him.
After more than a year of isolation and necessary detachment from humankind, a song like ‘Stranger’ feels about as apt, appropriate, and contemporary as a song possibly could. When Alto intones about spending too much time stuck inside his own head, it’s impossible to not feel the exact same way.
‘Stranger’, though, isn’t a song about hiding away, but rather what happens when someone who was once a key figure in your life suddenly is persona non grata. That could be a former flame, a loved one, or any other figure who at one point was a prominent fixture in your circle that has now, for one reason or another, exited your life. Alto’s grief and sorrow are palpable, and with his three singles, he’s quickly becoming an expert in the downcast, out of sorts headspace that many of us can relate to.
Adding to the lyrical content is the slow build of vocal lines and sonic idiosyncrasies. Alto’s piano gets centre stage, but surrounding it are intricate layers of harmonies and delicate synth pads that engulf your senses and create that lonely feeling that would feel somewhat dry otherwise. These aren’t exactly musical additions, but rather they’re textures used to heighten the emotion of the song. The notes themselves don’t really matter as much as how they add to the overall mood. That mood is one of heavy regret, but the floating spectres of sound keep the song from sinking too far down into despair.
Check out the audio for ‘Stranger’ down below.