REVIEW: Thad Kopec returns with new single, “Second Best”

Singer-songwriter Thad Kopec has released his first new solo track in almost two years, the lead single from his upcoming sophomore full-length record, The Shadow and the Caster. 

Thad Kopec has been a WE\ARE\MIRRORS favorite since his 2014 EP, Noble Neighbor, but he has been pretty Internet-silent since releasing The Ridge, in 2015. His new single, “Second Best,” was released with similar fanfare (i.e. very little), but it seems fitting that such a subtle, intimate track would be quietly released.

In keeping with Kopec’s previously-established style, “Second Best” features mystifying storytelling backed by sweeping baroque/folk arrangements. At first glance, this track seems like it wouldn’t be out of place on any of his previous records. However, upon repeated listens, this track sets itself apart as a highlight of Kopec’s discography thus far.

Similar to its immediate predecessors, “Second Best” spins an intriguing narrative brimming with metaphor. However, unlike tracks from The Ridge, this song shows a snapshot of a story to which we don’t know the beginning or end. It’s a scene without a greater context, intended by Kopec to mirror the structure of a dream (according to an interview with The Wild Honey Pie). This unique approach allows the listener to create their own greater story for the characters within the song, but that doesn’t distract from its overall lyrical ideas.

Besides a unique thematic structure, sharp production defines this track. In his previous work, Kopec’s production was delightfully hazy, allowing the music to envelop the listener. In “Second Best,” the layers are more clearly defined by crisp instrumentation. While the grandiose string and horn arrangements still remain, there’s a tangible element of negative space within the track, contrasting the swells with stillness. It’s a refreshing and welcome progression of Kopec’s sound, allowing his style to remain recognizable while accomplishing a different effect.

“Second Best” highlights Thad Kopec’s knack for nuance. It’s immersive, innovative, and inviting — an exciting indicator of his new music to come.

Listen to “Second Best” below. The Shadow and the Caster is out 4/21/17.

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