This 21st century has been an exercise in withstanding turmoil, painted in hills and valleys that grow wider and more distorted with every next phase. The anger, frustration, and fear that comes with so much of the turmoil of this modern age and its largely male-dominated harbingers is captured with icy soul in Ian Abel’s “Fragile Man.”
The beauty of “Fragile Man”‘s songwriting is its personal nature. The wrongs of the men of the world are unified into a pointed address, suited as much for a jilting lover as for this year’s model autocrat. The hissing synthesizers ebb and flow in sinister waves below the ghostly, layered harmonies of Abel’s voice.
“I wrote the song [in 2018] in a real moment of anger: at Trump, at the police, at legislators, at all the people who bullied me and made me feel worthless growing up… I was trying to capture the sense of helplessness a lot of us were feeling at the time, then direct that energy into something more powerful: rage.” – Ian Abel
There is a gracious use of space in “Fragile Man”- at times the only sound heard is the buzzing percussion of Abel’s beat work, a steady if ominous reminder to breathe in the midst of the wrongs being faced. Abel’s soulful delivery is the organic matter laid over the machinations of his production, the ghost in the machine, the brain in the vat. And with songs like “Fragile Man,” he achieves a rare feat in any stripe of pop: he’s got us thinking.
“Fragile Man” is out now and streaming everywhere, don’t miss it!
Review by Bobby Guard