YSL returns with a concise but powerful collection of emotional music with his EP “Feels Like I’m Gone”. Though much has changed in the meantime, on a global scale, all of the core elements that made up YSL’s previous releases are present here. His music has always had a cinematic quality, but this EP takes that to a whole new level. Alternating between hushed verses and passion-drenched choruses, acoustic guitar accompaniments, and fully fleshed arrangements, YSL’s songs are more eclectic in terms of structure and dynamics and more varied in style.
The EP “Feels Like I’m Gone”, thrives both in those grandiose moments, and when stripped down to a standard singer-songwriter serenading with an acoustic guitar in hand. The opening track, Loud” self-examines the singer’s thoughts and actions, unpacking their consequences. It is ambitious, it’s measured and mellow acoustic backing, and the singer’s trademark soulful croon, subtle beauty laced with melancholy and hope.
“Don’t know how I feel anymore,” sings YSL, his vulnerable cracking voice carrying more emotional heft than the guitar flourishes. All of the songs are tightly crafted, and YSL is equally capable of softening your heart with a groundswell of intertwined instruments or with sparse notes interrupting silence. He allows his troubles to stretch grandly before him. A wonder they do not consume him as they twist across spiky terrain that offers no place to hide.
The trials and tribulations of a world-weary troubadour are nothing new, but in YSL’s rather elusive case, there’s much so address that bothers him. And he does so rather grittily on the fleshed-out stomper, “Forget What People Say”.
He sticks to that outspoken formula on “Seasons”, as he sings: “I fight my battles. I wage my wars. I talk to demons. I’m worse for it.” To know YSL, to attempt to tap into his bruised frequencies, requires a healthy amount of emotional empathy on the part of those willing to listen.
The title track, “Feels Like I’m Gone”, takes us into quietly understated musical territory, where YSL’s resonating voice cuts through the atmosphere like a booming thunderstorm, before the music explodes into a bouncy forward moving momentum. YSL’s vocals weave deep through the musical fabric. He draws power from the lyrics, while his soul is laid bare, the frailties and flaws utterly exposed. It’s hard to come by singer-songwriters of this caliber easily.
The album closes with “Loud (Something New Remix)”, which is exactly what it says – a reworking of the EP’s opening track. It is more expansive an airy, growing into a sweeping finish. YSL is amongst those at the head of his class in a new wave of singer-songwriters that are poised to take over the genre.
This singer-songwriter has emerged with a collection of songs on “Feels Like I’m Gone” that are so raw and authentically sincere, so beautiful and absolutely impacting that it’s impossible to listen to them without being genuinely moved. When music is this good, this heartfelt and this perfectly crafted, it is always welcome.