Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Jack Savoretti – Candlelight

We’ve never covered him before; perhaps this is why…


Scott Mildenhall: There are plenty of B-listers, C-listers and other outsiders that would make a much better fist of the next Bond theme than whichever mega-name actually gets it: Susanne Sundfør, say, or maybe Susanne Sundfør, or Susanne Sundfør. In fairness, Dua Lipa will probably also be good. But anonymous Radio 2 merchant Jack Savoretti? “Candlelight” would be your meat-and-potatoes Bond song, shined off with the twinkle of glamour that the title suggests. The lyrics are logically puzzling — does he only light candles in daylight? — but the song works as a mood set piece, connoting rather than denoting.

Ian Mathers: I’ve heard a Richard Hawley album and seen a James Bond movie, so I’m not sure why you think I need to hear this too.

Katherine St Asaph: Begins operatically but miscast, specifically miscast in the way Roger from Rent would be as the Phantom of the Opera (to those who’d interject “so, like Gerard Butler,” you’re correct, but sit down). It steadily grows less operatic and more yarling, less mood-laden and more moody dude, until it reveals itself as miscast in a different way: a velour cloak thrown askew over Rob Thomas’ “Lonely No More.”

Iris Xie: With an anonymous choir that hums the main chorus melody, a forlorn piano, twangy Western guitar, and some light cymbals, this song yearns for legitimacy as both a ballad and a love song, but I come away feeling less wooed and more manipulated. The sturdy arrangement seems to ebb and flow in anticipated passion, with the last third roaring and then dialing it down. It feels like the work of a student who has memorized methods of emotional appeal but forgot to inject the final element: soul and vulnerability. Funny, considering the final refrain is, “I don’t want to hide.” The song rests on the assumption that the love interest will fall directly underneath his well-set plan, and with this intent, “Candlelight” would glow in a James Bond song competition or the next Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. But compared to other songs in the blues-pop-folk triangle that are more graceful and honest without sacrificing any of their emotion, this falls flat. 

Thomas Inskeep: I can’t decide if his voice sounds better or more annoying when he lets it get all raspy. It’s like Jackson Maine made a pop record.

Alfred Soto: He could be Alex Turner playing Joe Cocker in chansonnier mode but with less to say.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The chorus’s topline is adequate, but Jack Savoretti’s raspiness only reveals how its formal qualities are the beginning and end to what “Candlelight” has to offer. As the song progresses, the skeevy quality to the lyrics is amplified by the grandiose gesturing of the strings, vocal delivery, and the prim sound of the bass guitar. I like to imagine a sinister intent behind Savoretti singing “So come and kiss me before the sun goes down/’Cause in the darkness it’s not the same.” Does that make the song better? No. More tolerable? Sure.

Ramzi Awn: The most horrifying thing about “Candlelight” is the prospect of what might come after it when you play it on Spotify. Some songs are made for two people falling in love with each other. “Candlelight” is made for the movie montage three quarters of the way through every Diane Lane rom-com on Netflix’s February rotation. 

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