From the outset, listening to The Outsider feels like you have stumbled on a long lost rock and roll gem from the 60s or 70s and that is mainly due to the nostalgic and exotic qualities of Maryann’s voice. It’s not a case of the sound being dated or plagiarised, far from it, the song is as of-the-now as you could hope to hear, the music driving it cool and contemporary, the overall vibe totally modern.
It’s just that you don’t hear voices like hers much anymore. More’s the pity. I guess as everything in music, even rock and roll, has become conformist and homogenised, bent to the will of record company templates and marketing departments’ expectations, such vocal character, such defiant uniqueness has fallen by the wayside.
Well, not anymore. The Outsider is a reminder of musical individuality, of the power of rock and roll and has a wonderful self-referencing quality in that you have someone who vocally sounds like an outsider by today’s standards, singing about being just that.
But Maryann shouldn’t be an outsider, everything about this song embraces exactly what rock and roll is really all about. From the raw, riffing guitars, to the pounding beats, to the punctuated bass lines and then that voice. It is mature and wise, travelled and experienced, it is a voice which has lived, it is a voice that has been places and seen and done it all. That is the sort of voice that rock and roll deserves, no, it is the voice that rock and roll demands.
Singers can put on airs and graces, make us believe that they are the authentic, that they have lived a life and that via their songs they are handing out vital lessons and pieces of wisdom. But all you have to do is listen to Maryann for a few seconds and you automatically know that she is the real deal. It’s all in the voice and boy, what a voice.