SINGLE REVIEW | ‘What I Gave To You’ By Lina Cooper

Building on the momentum gained by previous release ‘Ethereal’, LA based Lina Cooper recently put out a co-write with one of her best friends, James Donkor (aka Yah Kumasi). 

It’s a hopeful affair of acoustic guitars, swooping strings, complementary harmonies and melt in your ear brass. Opening with a fingerpicked guitar progression and the honey sweet high vocals, the track slowly builds with subtle tastefully introduced instrumentation. The end of each verse has a satisfying conclusion which pulls into a nesting place the ear naturally craves. Soft brush-led percussion, the addition of strings, bass and cascading falsetto backing set the verse into the first chorus. There is a shift to a halftime beat, with additional drama being added by the swirling string section, distant vocal phrasing and various layers of backing vocals providing emphasis to the sense of melancholy. The smoothness in the transitions from verse to chorus and back again are notable, a sense of continuity throughout with nothing jarring the light touch of this track. Everything is done with delicacy and it’s testament to the production that the song grows seemingly indefinitely with slides, plucks and rundowns filling out the soundscape adding warmth and wholeness without using bombastic in your face techniques. 

A middle eight shines a light on the range of Lina’s vocals  with various phrases panned left and right throughout, dropping to a final phrase accompanied solely by a jazzy acoustic chord and a bass slide leading to the final chorus. Here is where the listener is confronted by a fantastic uplifting cacophony. It’s still delicate, but the impact of the newly introduced brass gives an extra oomph as it dances away in the background. Again, there are various vocal phrasings, falsettos and repeated melodies dropped across as stereo field before a repeating lyric lowers the track back down from that soaring chorus. This is a track with extra hooks, phrases, production tidbits and subtleties to be gleaned from repeated listens, and the song meanders effortlessly through the different sections leading to a very fluid and satisfactory listening experience.

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SINGLE REVIEW | ‘What I Gave To You’ By Lina Cooper
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