Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this edition of Independent Spotlight, I take a look at a songwriter from Iceland and their upcoming track, ‘Unconditionally.’ Selma Mariudottir is an electronics technician by day, but has dabbled extensively in songwriting over the past few decades. Now, over twenty years later, she is bringing her songs back to the forefront by rearranging, rewriting, and producing new tracks. The first of which is ‘Unconditionally,’ a fierce song performed and recorded by Joshua Matos. The result of Matos’ labor in the studio is an overwhelmingly positive one, with Mariudottir’s songwriting making a powerful first impression.
‘Unconditionally’ is one of the better one-track reviews I’ve had to conduct for my Independent Spotlight. This can be largely attributed to Matos’ performance. The track is exceptionally well executed, both instrumentally and vocally. The performance is top notch; it’s solid on all fronts, especially with the tight drums and screaming electric guitar riffs. The vocals find harmony in a mixture of slight raspiness and emotion, too.
Mariudottir’s lyrics are quite good as well. They’re simplistic, essentially theming the song around the idea that the performer’s love is unconditional and unwavering. It’s tragic in that regard, because the singer’s heart has been repeatedly tested by relationships of varying commitment in comparison to their deep devotion. The chorus is intriguing; it’s complex yet simple in its catchiness.
The song masterfully exhibits that Mariudottir has what it takes to be a successful lyricist. ‘Unconditionally’ is short and sweet and that’s a very good thing. There’s an excellent place for lyricists who have the ability to make a powerful impression with three chords or less and in under just as many minutes. It’s the sort of tight, ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ song that made early Beatles songwriting so appealing.
Sometimes the hierarchy of songwriting is skewed by songwriters like Bob Dylan who were prolific enough to tackle deeply rooted issues in incredibly complex ways. As a result, it’s important to remember that many of our best songwriters wrote in the simplistic style Mariudottir has developed. She is in good company to that effect.
‘Unconditionally’ is a promising rebirth of Selma Mariudottir’s songwriting. If she continues to lend her words to talented musicians like Matos, there could be something special in the making here. It’s difficult to make your way as a musician; it’s even more difficult as a songwriter. ‘Unconditionally’ speaks volumes in regard to Mariudottir’s potential.