Singer/songwriter Gabrielle Aplin’s new single, “Panic Cord,” is taken from her album English Rain, which was just released in England today on May 13, 2013. (She is, in fact, English.) It’s the opening track on the album and for good reason: it’s a highly addictive song that showcases Gabrielle’s ability to write poignant lyrics and sunshiny melodies, which she delivers perfectly with her always emotive voice. Stylistically, the up-tempo song is probably best described as folk, as it has gentle folk-style guitars and percussion, but at its core it feels like a pop song to me. Perhaps that’s because it’s so melodious and really hooks you? Regardless, it’s a beautiful, thought-provoking song that gets inside of your head and stays there and you’ll likely be happy that it does. “Maybe I pulled the panic chord / maybe you were happy / I was bored / maybe I wanted you to change / maybe I’m the one to blame,” goes the brutally honest chorus, which she sings with impressive vibrato while also making herself sound vulnerable.
The B-side here is a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” done in collaboration with Bastille. They’ve completely re-arranged it, having basically turned it into a potent trip-hop song. Bastille’s voice overflows with melancholy during the first verse then Gabrielle belts out the chorus like she’s screaming for dear life, hitting high notes that would impress Stevie Nicks and probably even make her jealous. Next time Bastille sings the chorus and he falters a bit there, not having half the range Gabrielle does, but he sounds great on the rest of the song and it sounds nice when he and Gabrielle sing the chorus in unison at the end of the song. I’ve heard this song covered many times and this is probably the most original take on it.
The E.P. also features two remixes. The first is a “Panic Cord” remix by Brighton-based producer Hucci, who slows it down and gives it the sort of trippy bass line and snappy beats you’d expect from a Massive Attack remix. The second is a Cyril Hahn remix of “Please Don’t Say You Love Me.” He gives the song an Italo house vibe, rendering it something in the vein of Sally Shapiro or Annie. Both remixes are fascinating because, really, singer/songwriters who delve in folk like Gabrielle almost never allow their work to officially be remixed.