Arthur returns with an authentic and heartfelt track that, while not the most original lyrically, is a step-above the standard love song.
After two years of silence, I wasn’t expecting much from the 2012 winner of The X Factor, but ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ is a nicely surprising combination of his unique vocal tone, a fairly Ed Sheeran-esque backing, and some rather poignant lyrics. It doesn’t quite have the impact of genuine Sheeran (or indeed of his own single ‘Recovery’), but it’s powerful nonetheless.
The relaxing yet uplifting guitar-and-piano backing is refreshingly acoustic, giving Arthur the perfect stage to really put power and passion into his vocal. The small rifts in his voice complement the backing perfectly and provide excellent variation throughout, and the soft piano moments similarly shift the contrast to maintain his vulnerable voice as the focus. It’s good to see Arthur letting his voice take the foreground on a light and soothing rhythm, pitched perfectly for what he seems to be aiming for.
What he actually sings, however, is far from special, reminding me closely of One Direction’s ‘Little Things’ and other tracks of a similar style. It is Arthur’s powerful delivery and changes of speed, tone, and pitch throughout that gives the lyrics themselves some form of life. The track ends up an authentic declaration of feeling rather than a sweet love ballad, and his motivations may themselves be reflective of his regret and “deep embarrassment” with regard to his actions after fallouts with Syco. Whatever his story, ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ is certainly not a song void of authentic emotion.
‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ is out now via Sony Music