From the very intro, you know this is going to be an extraordinary song that will confront you with a most serious problem: the loss of a friend. Dear Friend off Gerald LeBlanc’s Growing Pains album, is a soul-touching rap record that will call your attention to appreciating your own loved ones more. With an admirable sentiment that reverberates through the voice tone and a chorus that is feather-like, you will wholeheartedly connect with this track from the first listen.
The song opens up with a direct conversation between Gerald and his lost friend: “Damn Gizmo It’s been crazy since the day you died/ When I got that phone call I was stuck in denial/ it took me a while to realize you was gone”, with Gerald’s tenor voice smoothly conveying the heart-to-heart message. The lyrics are straightforward and the flow effortless, uncomplicated. It almost feels like a snippet from a real-life dialogue. A peculiarity that is most interesting and remarkable is the production choice to create the back vocals organically. Meaning you can hear the supporting harmonies and ad libs crystal clear, no synthetic effects used. Which is truly genius as it enhances the emotional pain and grief. Whereas an autotuned voice and copy/pasted vocals would have taken away from the sincerity the song transmits.
Gerald continues to voice his existential question towards God while keeping a positive focus on his beloved friend: “I’m like why Lord you had to take my closest friend/ Hopefully I’ll see you one of these days up in heaven/ When we up at the pearly gates/ I can’t wait to call you again”, giving the listener an inner peace by showing he’s holding on to hope and the possibility of seeing each other again.
The hook is phenomenal and it makes its subliminal introduction with short snippets while Gerald is still rapping, rendering its arrival much more welcome by the time it actually kicks in. We must applaud that high-pitched tone being outstandingly melodic and taking the lead alone at first, then meshing flawlessly with Gerald’s message in the distance towards the end of the chorus: “Dear Friend I’m here for you I know u don’t talk too much”
With few but effective words, the hook complements the pristine instrumental and it offers a perfect angelic counterbalance to the raw vocals of Gerald.
That soulful piano is heavenly combined with the light drums and the subtle snare while Gerald LeBlanc found the silver lining in delivering a heavy message with a poetic touch. Dear Friend is that song you’ll find comforting during your grief period, as we all, as human beings, will lose family members and friends sooner or later. It is a timeless masterpiece that transcends the limitations of rap music alone. A song that can be enjoyed and digested by any age, time, gender, beliefs. If your heart’s been sleeping, Dear Friend will awaken it.
Review by Mariana Berdianu
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