14 April 2021 was the release date of the latest single “Visions” from the Swedish singer and songwriter José González. Six years have gone by since the release of his last album Vestiges & Claws (2015). Finally, the time has come again for us to dive into the musical world of this unique songwriter, who has become one of the most acknowledged indie-folk artists worldwide in recent years. “Visions” could be considered a little introduction to fans because it will be featured on the artist’s upcoming album Local Valley, which will be released in September 2021.
The song “Visions” contains several remarkable elements. First of all, in terms of genre, it may operate best within indie-folk music, however, it is clear that other musical genres also influenced the artist. Referring to the rhythmic pulse of the tune, elements of latin music remind me of his early releases like Veneer (2003). Even though Jose Gonzalez was born in Sweden and grew up there, he has Argentinian ancestry. Gonzalez stated in early interviews that because of his cultural heritage, latin melodies have a significant influence on his artistic identity.
This sort of musical influence can be heard in “Visions” as well. Furthermore, the tune has a minimalist instrumentation, containing only an acoustic guitar and vocals. The acoustic guitar makes its sound earthy and natural, and the melody of the lead vocal gives the song a relaxed, positive vibe. Besides the instrumentation, different natural sounds were added to the track as effects that create a more natural sound. These elevate the cheerful mood of the song even more.
Its structure follows the classic A-A-A-A form which is commonly used in folk music, strengthening the song’s sonic identity significantly. The lyrics poetically indicate that human relationships are the focal point, although there are only vague references to that idea within the lines (“We can’t know for sure what’s next / but that we’re in this together”) Nevertheless, there is some kind of lightness that sonically reveals itself via the combination of the lead vocal melody and the lyrics. It strengthens the cheerful and positive vibe of the track.
In addition, a couple of things must be mentioned about the video clip for this single as well. The visuals of the video are definitely in sync with the music, showing silhouettes of animals and all sorts of plants that again shows the listener that strong connection between nature and music that José González and his music represent. It is like the artist wants us to feel that if we listen to his music, we have no reason to be scared or anxious, because in his musical world there is no place for such feelings. We may only find positive vibes and cheerfulness in his songs, and perhaps this is all we need during Spring. With Spring, the blooming of flowers and trees has already started, and José González presents us with a suitable soundtrack for this blooming.
Everyone who is interested in indie-folk music will surely look forward to the LP release Local Valley – I definitely will do so. Who knows? Maybe this will be one of the major musical highlights of 2021 as well. There are not so many artists or musicians who find their artistic identities so early and who are able to maintain it as long as José González has. He has definitely found his own voice as a singer-songwriter and “Visions” is the evidence for that.
“Visions” is a great comeback from José González. It is a lovely acoustic tune with a relaxed mood and a quite positive vibe that may make listeners upbeat. According to its sound, it could be even considered as the anthem of Spring, the tune of rebirth, the song that could drive all the negative thoughts out of our minds. We have sat in the dark too much, it’s time to step out and let the sunshine warm us up.
Single Rating: 4,5/5