A blistering bass hum awakens a beast of a beat in the opening bars of “Never Really Good Enough,” the latest single from the one and only Szandra Mayer, but it isn’t long before it’s joined by the lustrous lyrical lashing of Mayer, who is at her most intimate in this new track. The synths are underscored by the bassline, which unlike in previous instances, is the bread and butter of this enormous groove driving the song. The keys strike pendulously, emitting an ethereal echo that will pierce through our stereos and impart a torturous melancholy unto us. The lyrics themselves are a little more than somber; they’re a downright dirge, but for some reason, they’re unable to pull us asunder with their depressive dialogue. My theory as to why? It’s Szandra. Szandra’s singing is bright, chirpy and even a little optimistic despite the pain in the words that she’s dispensing, and though some of you might find the juxtaposition to be more postmodernity than you were looking for in a pop song, for critics like myself, this is as rock solid an indie single as we’re going to hear this spring.
Mayer is being so vulnerable with us in “Never Really Good Enough,” and touching on subject matter that is unfortunately relatable to so many of us from day to day. The fear of not measuring up. The anxiety of knowing that something so tangible to most is slipping away from our fingers in slow motion, with us powerless to do anything about it. Our hearts are right there beside hers as she croons with an elegant confidence that bleeds into the instrumentation framing the harmony. These synthesizers would normally be rather out of place in a ballad as emotive as this one is, but because of the chic groove that they’re afforded by a subtle drum track, they’re more of a redeeming quality than they are an experimental eccentricity. There’s no denying that Szandra Mayer is getting in touch with her wild side, at least from a compositional perspective, in “Never Really Good Enough,” but I won’t go as far as to say that she’s departing from her signature sound.
I cannot wait to hear a full-length album from this girl. In the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of checking out some really poignant singles from Szandra Mayer that haven’t just made me excited about the energy that her scene is bringing to the table right now, but moreover, they’ve got me pumped for what this talented singer/songwriter is going to sound like as she gets more experience under her belt and develops this style of play into a tour de force that virtually no one will be able to rival once it reaches full creative capacity. There’s no rush for Mayer – in fact, the more time that she takes hashing out her aesthetics, the better – but if she keeps giving up material as sleek and sublime as she has in “Never Really Good Enough,” she’s going to be adorning more headlines than just this one this season.