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My thoughts on the studio version of "Not Alone"

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Poppy

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On December 9, 2015, a full studio version of “Not Alone,” produced by Ron Fair, was made available via a free mp3 download of the song, by purchasing a “Not Alone” shirt on Represent.com    
 
So what are my thoughts about this new full studio version of “Not Alone?”  

Of course, I love the first recording of “Not Alone,” the one that was available through Darren’s lovely “Human” EP.   As soon as I heard this earlier version of the song, I loved the melody.  I loved the inspirational lyrics.  I loved Darren’s soulful voice.   It was quiet, yet earnest.  It felt stripped down.  Well, it felt stripped down, because it was stripped down.  It was just Darren’s voice and a piano or keyboard, I believe.  The whole “Human” EP humbly was recorded in Darren’s bedroom with one of his engineer friends.   Entertainment Weekly  (Even then, Darren was a resourceful young person, something that he has continued to be.)

This new full studio version of “Not Alone” is a nice contrast to that stripped down version that first appeared on Darren’s “Human” EP.   The choir voices add a great deal to the feel of the song, underlining the feeling of community, inspiration, hope, and support that the lyrics express.   I like that the choir does not drown out Darren’s voice, but instead complements his voice.   


One of my favorite parts of this full studio version is that it sounds like Darren recorded some of his own backing vocals.   This adds a beautiful quality to the last minute and a half, with Darren’s own voice adding lovely high riffs, resulting in a gorgeous flourish of sound.    With the addition of Darren’s own voice as the backing vocals, the addition of the choir, and more instruments involved, it’s a more sophisticated, complex arrangement than the version recorded in his bedroom

For whatever reason, whether it’s the more involved production of the full studio version, or because Darren’s control of his voice has improved, on this new full studio version of the song, his voice sounds more rich, more full-bodied, more soulful, more silky.  Darren always has had a warm, thick voice with texture. (Interestingly, Darren himself often describes his voice as a “thin, pop voice.”  I disagree, Mr. Criss!)   Music Producer of “Glee: The Music Presents the Warblers,” Tommy Faragher had said this about Darren, even before Darren first started performing songs for “Glee”:  When I first heard Darren’s voice on the audition tape that they sent me, I knew immediately that he was a star [...] And so I was definitely asking them to please select him [laughs]. He’s the guy - he’s got such a warm, thick soulful sounding voice that I knew in the studio we would get a really great result.”   PopCrush  If I had to choose a visual picture that would convey what Darren’s voice looks like to me, it would be an image of rich, warm, thick, silky molten chocolate. Sorta like this:



Enlarge this image



For both the older version and the new full studio version of "Not Alone," one of the aspects that truly draws me in, is the sincerity and earnestness that I hear in Darren’s voice.    As Darren sings about being there for someone (a friend, a love interest, family, or just another human being in need), one hears commitment in Darren’s voice, the commitment exemplified by the lyrics, offering support, help, friendship, and solace.  The warmth of Darren’s voice is welcoming.  (It’s why babies seem to like his voice as well.)   Just as many of Darren’s fans report that the first sight they see in Meet and Greets is Darren standing backstage, with a big smile on his face and his arms wide open, ready to give those special, long, tight bear hugs, Darren’s singing voice (depending on the nature of his songs) feels like the equivalent of a big hug, the kind that fills your soul with warmth.    I remember when Darren was first on Ellen Degeneres’s show, she exclaimed that Darren has such a great energy about him.    The positive energy that one sees in his friendly smiling face, in his body language (arms wide open, big bear hugs) also is palpable in his voice.  That’s one of the qualities of Darren’s voice, along with his ability to convey emotion in a honest way, that really makes him stand out, and that creates an emotional bond between Darren and his audience/his fans.  

In this new full studio version of "Not Alone," the song finishes quietly. The chorus slowly fading away, so that our ears focus on Darren's voice sweetly singing a new line that I didn't hear in the earlier version of the song: "We'll make it through." And as he continues with the lyrics, we hear his voice make a promise: "Our love is all we need . .. our love is all we need, to make it . . . through."  

So to answer my own question, I just love this new version of "Not Alone."

This song, both the old version and now, this new full studio version, causes me to fill up with various emotions, with feelings of positivity, optimism, hope, warmth, support, friendship, . . . with love. All I can say, is that I'm more than willing to wait for more of Darren's original music. I'll wait and wait, until he's ready to share his music with us. Because I know it will happen. And when it does, you can be sure that it will be more than worth the wait.

Poppy

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x
hedwig-darren


I love that gif (above).  You can see how over-the-moon excited Darren is about his song being recorded.  It makes me so happy seeing him so happy. 


That gif was taken from this video that Darren tweeted:


DarrenCriss: @loudmouthmuch part two. Represent.com/darrencriss #NotAloneBTS

DCN

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Last edited by Poppy on Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:00 pm; edited 3 times in total

Poppy

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One of his Facebook videos was about the making of Not Alone:  "Not Alone (The Story)"



Link (to Darren's Facebook)
DCN



Same video on Youtube:

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Ron Fair produced Not Alone.




DCN





Darren went down on his hands and knees and hand-wrote the lyrics of the song for the design of the back of the Not Alone shirt.

DCN
Darren Criss
(via GIPHY) Represent.com/darrencriss
Note:  Correct link Represent.com (Not Alone shirt)





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tirpse:

Darren Criss For making those words more powerful than I could have ever imagined- thank you. http://Represent.com/darrencriss
Note:  Correct link to Represent.com (Not Alone shirt)





DCN

hedwig-darren:
Final number of Not Alone t-shirts sold: 5,156 - December 22, 2015

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