Premiere: ben madlinger Releases Tender Guitar Ballad “louisa”
This Friday will see the release of “louisa,” the debut single from minimalist singer-songwriter ben madlinger, but today, The Auricular is proud to premiere this single below, along with all the details behind this song and madlinger’s compositional mindset.
“louisa” is a poised song with a gentle guitar melody and resounding tone that’s sincerely memorable. Straight-forward in design, the song does provide some surprises in its short runtime, notably the peculiar background vocals near the beginning and the errant harmonies that exist a quarter-step behind the rest of the song’s cadence. All of this enhances the mood of the song, grabbing your attention and letting the guitar carry the full of weight of the words so lyrics like “I’d do anything in the dark for you” hit the listener with maximum impact.
Written roughly two years ago, this composition came about after a breaking point in madlinger’s life, one that fortunately opened the door for exploring his emotions through art.
“I had a big project at work that I failed,” madlinger remembered. “I had been defeated by something and given up and I had to admit that and deal with it. It’s a pretty sobering thing to happen. I started writing the song while plastered, staring at the kitchen floor with a party going on around me. Pretty depressing picture now that I think about it. I kind of think of the song as a list of my shortcomings or things I didn’t like about myself at the time. But it’s not really a depressing thought for me. It was a good way to confront those things and work through them, and it’s cool to sing that song now and think about how many things on the list don’t really apply anymore.”
“louisa” will be a part of madlinger’s forthcoming album entitled brevity, a planned nine track that will explore the reductive aspects of modernism within poetry and music. “It’s been a really big part of the journey of trying to figure out who I am as an artist over the last several years,” he detailed. “It was a mixture of realizing that I naturally write short songs, and also realizing that that’s exactly how I want it. That’s what originally turned me on to the idea of this record as a sort of study of what I think minimalism looks like in music and poetry.”
More than just a structural study, brevity will also explore the concept of transience in our world. “The other major theme for the record turned out to be a reflection on the brevity of life,” he continued. “Not just on the broad scale of dying too soon, but also on the small, every day scale. Nothing is permanent; every new thing seems to pass by before you really get a chance to wrap your head around it. So that’s how I write a lot of my songs. They’re just long enough to paint that particular moment of thought or feeling, and then I move on. I try to never add any words that don’t need to be there. But I also try not to cut things out for the sake of sticking to that particular style. I have some songs I really like that I’m holding for the next record because they didn’t fit the brevity theme.”
madlinger is focusing hard on completing brevity at the moment, eschewing live performances so he can complete his planned vision, but live performances are definitely something in the back of madlinger’s mind, ready to be approached once brevity is complete.
“I wanted to make the recording more intimate and vulnerable, but when I play live, I like to pull out the electric and yell a lot,” he explained. “So once I’m sure I’m done with the record, I’ll start working out how to translate these songs into that. I’m really excited for it. I’ll definitely be starting to book soon and try to plan a release show of some sort for the record.”