With previous releases such as Foundations and Disappear, Etherton has established himself as an artist that embraces the softer side of ballads, the nuisances of pop and has become a poignant lyricist. An ‘alternative indie folk-sound with a soulful undertone’ casts subtle pop elements in his music. A musician who has entered the scene in the last two and a half years, according to his LinkedIn entry, Daniel Etherton is a London-based singer-songwriter who has been busy with multiple performances in places such as Shepherds Bush and numerous features on local radio stations. As well as this, his debut single Foundations surpassed 17.5K streams on Spotify as of September 2021, so definitely an artist to watch in the coming months.
His latest two-part release Good in Goodbye and Sand joins his repertoire of originals and offers a touching response to an important query. Beginning the first song in the duo, the listener is asked the difficult question, ‘How do you find the good in goodbye?’.
In this, Etherton encompasses the listener’s thought process with lyrics that trigger scenarios and realities we can recall from experience or materialise in our minds. A hard-hitting topic, especially after the previous year, is handled well with Etherton’s soft background instrumentation that lets his voice take the focus. The songwriter has said the song is “extended from my eulogy written for my Grandfather, who passed away in April 2020”.
He reminds us that the good in goodbye is not ‘defined by the tears we cry’ but concepts such as ‘kindness’ and ‘humility’. A sense of hope is raised as the song hits its bridge. There’s no need for heavy drumbeats or a fast-paced rhythm where this release is concerned as the arrangement offers the appropriate balance of musicality and a message without any unnecessary, shimmery extras, letting Etherton’s lyrics speak for themselves.
The Standout Tracks
Whilst Good in Goodbye offers a poignancy, with a dark softness in the songwriter’s voice that matches the topic well, Sand has become the favourite of mine after listening to the duo on repeat. The second part of this release has a slightly more commercial, pop feel but that does not take away from the soulful voice that carries a fresher look at the reality of loss. There is an inevitability in the world of the living that some deny, many accept, and others sit in between. Death and loss can be complex and uncomfortable topics, yet when discussed through a song in the way Etherton has accomplished, they can offer a metaphorical warm hand for those listening to hold.
In Sand, Etherton states ‘you were part of a bigger plan’ and the lyric moves forward to elaborate that it is hard to understand ‘this place where you can’t hold my hand’. These lyrics and many more vocalise the simplicity that can be found in the feeling of loss – how memories can keep a life remembered and the basic act of holding someone’s hand can be one of the hardest things to come to terms with losing. Sand is based on the idiom ‘sands of time’ where we face the next chapter after a loss. Living without a loved one, becomes ‘harder to navigate’ but as we all know, there is no stopping time from moving on and this song offers a beautiful passage to remind us to keep living and remembering.
Aspects of the two-part story within these songs offer both a lighter perspective on the topic of loss whilst other moments allow the listener to stare it in the face. A unique perspective that is worth listening to.