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 review, I’m going to spend some time with a new tune from Dan McLean Jr., a Canadian ‘acoustic soul’ artist hailing from Toronto. His latest studio endeavor is ‘I’ve Seen Love,’ a sharply produced romp through lovely musings perfectly apt for Valentine’s Day. The track, which is available now, precedes McLean’s full length album that’s still in the works. Let’s touch on the piece.
‘I’ve Seen Love’ is a very ‘safe’ song, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s suave, elegantly produced, and McLean is in his element. That said, there also isn’t anything that’ll knock you sideways or turn your life around. These are musings you’ve heard time and time again and McLean isn’t throwing any fast balls or introducing new elements to his music. Frankly, I don’t think that’s an issue because I don’t think he’s trying to. I think ‘I’ve Seen Love’ is supposed to be a familiar, easy-to-consume love song. In that regard, it’s a resounding success.
I’m not quite sure if ‘acoustic soul’ is the best categorization of ‘I’ve Seen Love.’ It’s chock-full of musical layers - harmonies, electric guitars, drums, and a saxophone. Nothing sounds synthesized, and I wholly enjoyed how authentic McLean’s sound is. He definitely reminds me of 1980s feel-good rock acts. (Think - Hall & Oates.) Upon inspecting McLean’s influences, it seems that he too reminds himself of those kind of artists. That Motown inspiration is most certainly audible as well.
In a contemporary music scene, I think ‘I’ve Seen Love’ would probably falter into obscurity. It isn’t anything new. It does do what it does remarkably well, however, and I think there is a niche for it that McLean has clearly discovered. I bet he’s one hell of a good live performer, too, because this kind of music is ideal for that. You can tell he’s the calibre of artist that sounds the same on the record as they do in person. That’s admirable and ‘I’ve Seen Love’ is an excellent little love song worth your time because of it.