“Guilty” by Reading-based singer-songwriter Etham, is a masterstroke that bridges the gaps of pop, exploring new territories with an acoustic intimacy and serene simplicity. Tucked gracefully within the larger framework of his latest EP, this song stands as a testament to Etham’s textured talent and refined musical acuity.
The inviting strums of a guitar greet us as “Guilty” begins, framing Etham’s velvet-soft vocals, that embody an impressive range, from whispered confessions to throaty crescendos. The buoyant finger-picked guitar style creates a pulsating rhythm, the song’s heart rhythm. They display an artistic maturity that transcends the often overly-produced tracks that populate the pop landscape. The almost zen-like calm this song provides is an antidote to the excess of today’s music scene, setting it apart as a shining beacon of easy listening.
The lyrics of “Guilty” delve into the not-so-routinely explored avenues of post-breakup conversations. The song is bathed in a kind of radiant melancholy, a heartfelt narrative that suggests, remarkably, not all breakups need be heart-wrenching affairs, that there can be an invigorating liberation in the process.
The simple, acoustic instrumentation keeps the spotlight conjointly on Etham’s vocals and the song’s storyline. Each chord, each note resonates through the ache in his voice, creating a resounding emotional impact. Etham’s skill at vocal storytelling brings to mind the likes of Ed Sheeran or Lewis Capaldi- artists who have similarly used their music as a platform for intimate communication.
Overall, “Guilty” is a fascinating single that subtly veers off the beaten path of generic pop music. With it, Etham confirms his place amongst a new breed of artists unafraid to let authentic emotion and sincere lyrics take center stage. An entrancing song that echoes long after the final note, “Guilty” gives voice to the unguarded heart, a guided meditation on love and loss, a soothing soliloquy of a song. A guilt-free pleasure, indeed.