Dan Ashley has certainly been making some great music in the last year, and with the release of his new single, titled “Lucky Stars,” he returns to the spotlight in 2020 with what might be his most distinctive sound yet. “Lucky Stars” is as close to a progressive pop composition as Ashley has ever composed, but make no mistake about it – his knack for sonic efficiency is very much intact here, and reminds us of just how dedicated he truly is in the studio. He’s definitely not messing around with us in this song, nor the mighty melodies that it has to offer.
There are a lot of different working parts in “Lucky Stars,” but among them all, I think that the piano is my very favorite. It both contrasts and complements the tonality of Dan Ashley’s vocal better than any of the other instruments do, and though it’s got a nice poppy varnish over its place in the mix, it doesn’t sound as though it were synthetically created with overpriced software. The production quality in this track is tight from start to finish, building on the neat and tidy framework of Ashley’s 2019 single “What Really Matters” wonderfully.
I absolutely love the highlighting of the lead vocal’s versatility in this song, and even if “Lucky Stars” were to be broken down to nothing more than the vocal and the piano stoically reverberating into the ethers, I think it would still be as affecting as it is in this far more sophisticated format. By now, many of us are becoming aware of just how much Dan Ashley has to share as a singer and a songwriter, but in this single, he’s going out of his way to make sure that everyone who hears it walks away respecting his abilities.
It would be fun to hear how Ashley would perform this song in a live show, and not just because of how much grandeur there is to even the simplest of its melodies. As I previously noted, he could play this in a barebones arrangement or bring out an entire symphony’s worth of instruments behind him and make a big statement with the harmonies “Lucky Stars” is designed around, and I for one would really like to hear how each of these conflicting versions could impact a crowded concert hall full of people eager to hear incredible soft pop.
The indie world has begun to notice Dan Ashley in the past year, and I don’t imagine that changing after getting hooked on this latest release from his brand. He’s raising the bar for both himself and the scene that spawned his sound in the first place here, and as long as he keeps his nose to the grindstone, I think there’s good reason to believe that he will continue to become a more fascinating artist to watch in or out of the adult contemporary underground in the next couple of years to come.