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Powerful voice, tender lyrics: a review of Saffron’s debut single Introspection

Written by Jesse Wilkinson

There are many ways in which a musician can set themselves apart from others. One is through careful poetic cadence and aphoristic truths. Another is by crafting a distinct sound with say, a mandolin perhaps. The young promising Ontario musician, Saffron, does both on her debut single Introspection

Her lines are touching and vulnerable. They’re complicated, yet relatable. She’s clearly pining over a love interest, desperately aware of her own ability to sit and write tired cliché’s and anecdotes – the real struggle of a writer is to avoid these things at any cost, and she does in meta fashion. She’s getting lost in her own stream of consciousness that lingers on her caring too much. It’s complicated, but that’s the relatable part.

Photo: Veda Emrys Maharaj

By the end of the song, a clear narrative on desire has played out and she comes full circle to the realization that she needs to spend some time loving herself before giving it to someone else. A strong message for anyone young, and anyone old for that matter. It’s a more tender, reflective Margaret Glaspy, maybe something she might have written before getting a little jaded by relationships. But some of us never lose that romanticism, and so the jaded ones sound less appealing. We yearn for that tenderness of youth.

And the vulnerability I mentioned can be found in passages like:

But when I feel,
I feel intensely.
But my passion doesn’t mean that I’m
Devoid of the desire to be held,
But cradled gently
In the arms of someone who traces
Constellations
on my back
And whispers softly…

The lines rest gently on an adverbially rhyme scheme that only someone who’s conscious of their word choice and the cadence can craft. She released her first poetry collection titled Retrospective Collective, and was awarded a scholarship to a songwriting workshop for her song Introspection. She sells Retrospective Collective in zine format to help fun her music, which makes me very jealous as a zine has been on my to-do list for some time now.

Photo: Anjelica Hammond Rees

And if her lyrics are any indication, this young woman is well deserving of the scholarship. Her powerful voice can overshadow the words, but if you listen, you’ll hear some fantastic figurative lines such as:

But I need
Some time alone
Because these urges built within me to turn these dreams into a home
Are running wild, from thought to thought
And I’m counting every piece of me
I think that I have lost in this cause
For romantic interest
Can I share my independence with a will that wants a home?
I’ve given away too many thoughts
Inspired by the fears and tears
of growing old alone

Her instrument on Introspection is a vintage ’71 Harmony Batwing mandolin and it sounds pretty f—ing awesome. The interplay with her voice is wonderful as the strumming pattern fills in the spaces between words that build and fall, rhyme and signify. She also plays the mandola and mandocello (I had to look that one up).

I listen to a lot of music, and when I heard Saffron’s sound, I knew she was doing something really cool, really different, and is very much poised to make a name for herself on the back of her upcoming EP. If Introspection is a sample, albeit a nuanced one, of the sound of her first album coming this spring, you’ll want to be checking back in with this young woman and tracing her touring schedule.

She’s currently living near Etobicoke but grew up in Brantford, Ontario. Maybe we can convince her to come visit Grey/Bruce/Simcoe this summer. I want to hear that mandocello.

 

You can keep up with her music and tours here.

 

Written by Jesse Wilkinson

Feature image by Buni Hiro

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Jesse Wilkinson

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