Light piano notes compliment Nicole Markson’s angelic voice wholly throughout her holy (insert pun joke here) new single Higher Than Heaven. The bass hits after a sublimely soft intro, notes showering down in a rainy shimmer. The vocals follow like celestial thunder, as if dropped from nirvana (the noun not the band). The keys get louder while the intensity behind her voice grows, belting the line, ‘Got so much life to live’, as if singing to the angel of Death. The pre-chorus returns to the syrupy piano notes paired with Markson repeating ‘Living dreams’, increasing in sweetness before adding intensity.
The electronic orchestra notes enter, leading straight to the hook, ‘I’m going higher than heaven’, (and I’m falling in love with this song). The chorus comes in hard with pulsing electronic keys stowed between steady and at times poly-rhythmic drum strikes. You feel like you’re actually ‘dancing with the stars’ (never watched the show, but I’ve heard good things) amongst the long glittering strikes, almost like you’re in a rocket ship with Markson taking you past the sky.
The soundscape widens like a sunset, right before closing in on the next verse, returning to the creamy piano as the speaker pleads with God to ‘Hear me tonight’, (we certainly can hear such a radiant voice). The speaker pleads for strength; one can feel her desperation to live, a desperation that translates perfectly into dance. It’s almost as if the speaker straddles the edge of death, while feeling so fiercely the will to live – a concept first illustrated by Arthur Schopenhauer (shout out to my favorite pessimist). Such a will is the drive to self-preservation, the natural feeling in the face of death, a feeling often coupled with the finding of purpose. Such purpose can be found all throughout the musical piece, fusing easy sway and ecstatic dance, grooming any body to move.
Markson has certainly found meaning in art by magnificently blending classical piano and new age electronica to create an eclectic sound for easy listening across all walks of life. Hopefully you too, dear reader, can derive such purpose perhaps by becoming a creator in some shape or sound.