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:
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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.