Track Review: John Newman, ‘Olé’
British singer/songwriter John Newman first arrived on the American scene in 2014 when he released debut album, Tribute. Tribute superbly fused pop and neo-/retro-soul. Newman’s gritty voice is perfectly suited to emotional, heart-wrenching, soulful music. Newman nailed soulfulness on singles “Love Me Again” and “Losing Sleep.”
Newman’s latest single, “Olé” contrasts “Love Me Again” and “Losing Sleep.” Take it a step further – “Olé” contrasts Tribute. The single has a newfound tropical vibe, anchored by the drum groove and emphasized by the rhythm guitar. The tandem of drums and rhythm guitar creates a hypnotic groove, clearly a selling point of the song.
Some other takeaways from “Olé” include Newman’s distinct voice. Newman resides in the lower register of the voice, placing its coarse, gritty quality on display. The voice carries over from Tribute, reminding the listener of what attracted them to Newman from the get-go. The chorus is another strong suit, thanks to its sunny vibe:
“Olé / you bring too much sunlight to my day / and only you can chase the pain away / you bring too much sunlight to my day”
If that doesn’t suffice, the break section (bridge) does (“I can’t control myself around you”).
John Newman has some nice ideas happening during “Olé.” That said, the single isn’t nearly as electrifying as “Love Me Again” or “Losing Sleep.”