Track Review: Deborah Williams: Show Me The Way

‘Reflective, empowering, and utterly breathtaking, it’s the perfect introduction to her next musical chapter.’

Intro to Deborah Williams
With a background in composing for film and television, as well as songwriting specifically for sync catalogues, Deborah Williams’ debut single ‘Show Me The Way’ truly highlights the strength of her standalone musicality. Introducing us to the sound that we can expect to experience in her forthcoming album, this new release signals a new chapter for her as a solo artist, and one that makes you want to hear more immediately. Speaking about the single, Deborah says, ‘I wanted it to sound epic and have two different voices. The voice in the verses talking of mental struggles and feeling like an outsider, the stronger voices of the chorus reflecting the need for change and the urge for progression.’ Almost giving herself a brief that may be received from a production company, it’s little wonder that the track delivers exactly those intentions. Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Deborah Williams.

Track Review
From the very first millisecond of ‘Show Me The Way’ you feel drawn to the sound that you are hearing. Hypnotic in nature, ringing bell tones appear in a delicate, gong-esque manner. It’s so simple, but so fascinating, and so promise-filled. Matching the softness, the line ‘save me, it’s like I’m stuck in a daydream’ is effortlessly enticing and as a listener, you feel like you are the one being saved. From what, it doesn’t matter, but that sense of comfort, is, it’s many forms, to be very much the key to the track. 

Causing us to be entirely focused on the lyricism, the textural elements at this point are of sparseness and subtle evolution. Accompanied only by tempo setting chimes, it soon becomes clear that the sheer beauty of Deborah’s vocals is to be highlighted. Delivering more than a hint of intrigue, the mix of soulful portamento, precise word formations and slightly breathy edges provide a level of interest that you can’t get enough of. How easy it would be to push the vocals, introduce power, and musically foreshadow what is to come. To not though, is to prove self-security within the artform.

With instrumental changes beginning to occur, those ever-present bells continue among a sea of panning, pounding, and dramatic tom-toms. Almost warlike, it’s like inner feelings fighting with one another. The purpose and intent is unbounded. As it would seem is the inclusion of echo and reverb too. Filling every potential silence with intricate rhythms and oceanic depth, the transformation that occurs takes us away from the sparseness in the most stylish way. But then, when you consider Deborah’s prowess in writing for film and TV, you wouldn’t expect anything less.

Diving into the cinematic tendencies of what we have heard so far, on hitting chorus the most goosebump-inducing atmosphere emerges. Here is the promised power. Here are the pushing vocals. And here is the moment where every musical box is ticked to generate a sensation that overwhelms in the most glorious way. Crying out, phrases such as ‘It is dark down here and I have lost my way’ blend with a mass of harmonies that carry dominance. Recurring settings of ‘show me the way’ swirl like a siren emerging from the depths too. Meanwhile, in drawing on orchestral influences, sustained strings infuse the texture in a way that grabs hold and buries itself inside you. I mean honestly, what more could you want?

Working in a way that nods to previous compositional contexts, on leaving the chorus we experience what is the most misleading, most inspired few seconds of musicality. Sonically fading the sound as much as she dare, Deborah takes us to a point of near silence. Placed where it is, it’s like a hit-point has been reached. If this were for use in the credits for a film, you could cut it there at it would make complete sense. And yet, in it preceding a dramatic restart of verse content, it makes even more sense. Sure this may be her debut single, but there is no doubting the level of experience Deborah has behind her.

Continuing to prove the level of reaction that it is possible to experience through music, with those aforementioned strings now embellishing the harmonic progression via accented arco rhythms, the epic nature of the release truly blossoms. Every element drowns you with its beauty. Each nuance of musicality makes you appreciate the phenomenal sonic strength, and phenomenal sonic quality of what you are hearing. Long gone is the initial atmosphere, and replaced by cross-rhythmical layers, there is an invigorating level of momentum that is about to be pushed even further.

Ensuring that we have no chance to catch our breath, with the chorus resurging you can’t help but feel empowered. Soaring above and weaving among the texture, Deborah’s vocals are nothing short of sublime. One moment returning to the softness, the next crammed with impassioned expression, the next vigorously echoing, you can’t help but feel blessed to experience them. But having said that, when you throw a mass of orchestral countermelodies, stunning production, and a final moment of reflection into the mix, you find yourself feeling exactly the same about the entire track.


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