We have been following the musical trajectory of S J Denney since he paid tribute to the important people in our lives through ‘The Unsung Hero’. After the exploration of loss and the grieving process in Beneath the Skin, he is taking a reflective look at how lucky we were in the times before the pandemic. While there are a lot of pandemic related songs out there, Denney takes a different approach with ‘And Then You Wonder…’ as he considers dreams of returning to the freedom we had, while acknowledging that we took those freedoms for granted.
Drawing on the influence of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by the Beatles, the single is easy to relate to, while the melodic composition helps it stand out from the crowd. The single continues Denney’s musical style that draws you into the thoughts and feelings of the characters he brings to sonic life. With a touch of Baroque pop, he brings his folky flair to our ears, while tugging at our emotions.
Denney’s vocals draw you into ‘And Then You Wonder…’ with a soft flow. He pulls you into the stream of thoughts that fill the lyrics as he considers wanting to get away from the present and into another world. While there is a touch of escapism to his performance, there is a grounded feeling of reflection. This feeling is one that all of us have felt at some point, allowing listeners to easily connect with the single. There is a wish to go back in time woven into his performance, but this is tempered with the understanding that we can’t turn back time and can only consider how we took the freedom we had for granted. While reflective, there is a companionable feeling to the single that lets you know others feel as you do and that there is hope for the future, even if it is not a return to how things used to be.
While the stream of thought fills the vocal performance, the melody below is a rich combination of folk and delicate strings. The strings pulse against your ears through the opening, before leading you into a wonderful Baroque flow. This rather nostalgic style enhances the emotions of the vocals and the overall reflection of the track. It also creates an unbelievably rich soundscape that is soft, gentle and emotive. There is a light warm feeling to the melody, like the first rays of sun on your skin as you step out of the shadows.
S J Denney reflects on the past, wishes for the freedom of the past, while acknowledging that we can’t go back in ‘And Then You Wonder…’. His performance draws you into a stream of thoughts and emotions that are easy to relate to. The music is rich with Baroque strings and a warm sunny feeling.