Piano ballads are a mainstay of pop music; they always have been and always will be. The art of a great pop ballad is in understanding that such a style has found its perfect form and that it is not about changing the formula. It is about building on what has gone before. That means you need to forget about doing things differently; all you should aim for is doing something better. And better means uping the stakes regarding songwriting, melody, memorability and delivery.

Xavier Toscano knows this, which is clear from his latest song, Castles In The Sky. You might be hard pushed to find anything new here, but that is the point. Working in the such territory is about a certain level of familiarity with the core sound rather than the freshness of moving things forward.

And the result is brilliant. An emotive, heart-aching, understated and delicate piece built on only expressive voice, sparing piano and deft string washes. The result sounds like a song you have been listening to for years. That is what happens when you get the piano ballad right.

Site / Socials: https://www.XavierToscano.com


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