Manny Cabo turned plenty of heads (and four chairs) on NBC’s The Voice, and in his new single “All Night Again,” he’s showing off more maturity than some would have expected from a young upstart player. On the back of a slick piano melody, Cabo unveils lyrics that are lacy but deeply heartfelt, employing transparent emotional poetry instead of predictable pop fodder. Always strong but never sharp, his vocal is perhaps the number one reason to check out this song, and if I’m being truthful, it sells itself more than any heavy rock backdrop ever could have.
When I listened to this track for the first time, I really tuned-in to Cabo’s command of the verses more than anything else. His heart is on his sleeve as he works his way from one line to the next, and there’s never a moment where he sounds even slightly out of his depth or inauthentic in the statements he’s making to the audience. The narrative here is personal, and even if the words aren’t relating to a specific event in his life, the passion that he’s using to convey them to us definitely does.
Movement is slow in this song, even a little pendulous in a couple of a spots, but there’s always a tremendous amount of urgency in the vocal that keeps us on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. I love the way that Manny Cabo manipulates the tension in the music with rhythm, or in this case, the total absence of a physical groove. We’re not waiting for the drums to come crashing down on the piano Meat Loaf-style (which isn’t to dismiss that kind of composing, mind you); all of the catharsis is seeping through the harmony, and that could be what gives this track such a unique edge above the rest.
I can’t speak for my fellow critics, but I’d really like to hear Manny Cabo collaborate with a female singer of equal talent in the future, and preferably in a setting similar to this. There’s so much we can learn about a vocalist like Cabo by pairing him with another talent that can draw different elements of his sound to the surface, and that’s partly why I think “All Night Again” will at some point be regarded as one of the cornerstones of his young discography. It poses new questions and concepts relating to his ability as an artist, which is quintessential in a release like this one.
Those who haven’t yet heard the music of one Manny Cabo need to listen to “All Night Again” before the summer shifts into autumn, and it would surprise me a great deal if I were the only music critic saying as much this June. “All Night Again” is a dynamic piece of material that is 100% fluff-free, and even if it isn’t the most complex pop single that you hear in the year 2020, I think it will definitely be one of the more memorable.
by Bethany Page