Johannesburg-based singer-songwriter Lee Cole has released a stunning and soulful power ballad called ‘Cold’. The song explores the fears of falling in love, of deeply wanting someone but pushing them away and being distressed by the vulnerability that comes with intimacy. The track opens with ghostly, almost eerie, backing female vocals evoking the songs of sirens, mythical creatures that are said to lure sailors to their deaths. Cole sings gently at first about feeling dark inside his comatose state and longing to feel close to the song’s subject. His lyrics are open and exposed, most evident when the singer-songwriter sings, “Holding on to make-believe I long to feel you ecstasy but I can’t seem to give you what you want.”
The single grows and bellows as its grand cinematic score swells to a crescendo and crashes as if a wave. The beautiful orchestral parts are entangled in Cole’s beautifully suited vocals which exude emotion and become filled with grit and husk as the song builds. The popular ballad sound expressed in ‘Cold’ is one that has defined Cole’s music.
The singer who produced the song spoke about its development, “The production of the single started off with the idea of creating something very ghastly and haunting. As I produced the song, I slowly began to play with the idea of creating one big resolution within the song and I thought a string section could best bring that to life. The end string section has 12 different string parts all coming together in the end creating that resolution while still keeping the song haunting and ghastly.”
Lee says he wrote the song in 2019 in the USA at a low time in his life. He said ‘Cold’ represents change he went through and a revelation, “It’s about admitting that maybe you don’t know how to love and that the person you’re trying to love is better off without you. It’s bittersweet because, on one hand, you don’t want to feel lonely; you crave that companionship, but on the other hand, you keep hurting the people closest to you because you’re scared to love.”
‘Cold’ is a modern take on the classic power ballads of the 80s and 90s; it erupts with honesty, beauty and melody. It is grand epic pop at its best.