The Sydney based singer/songwriter Montaigne dropped her most recent single Clip My Wings late last month in anticipation for her nationwide tour later in the year. Jessica Cerro first made herself a name as one of the triple j Unearthed High finalists in 2012 and adopted the moniker Montaigne, inspired by the 16th century philosopher.
“Clip My Wings is about attempting to push back against your oppressors,” explains Montaigne. “I am resilient and have become more self-confident, I am less afraid to stand up for myself and my self-belief and I am expressing that through this song.” She manages to capture that sentiment in a format more aggressive and opulent than previously known of the 20 year old and we can only hope it’s a hint of more good things to come.
This single should be used as the prototype for a baroque pop/art pop feel-good power ballad. A strong beginning with the strumming of mighty guitar strings and a wholesomely indulgent bass line, the kick drum follows suit with clap beats to boot. Thus far, this introduction has all the right ingredients hitting all the right spots. Delicate yet formidable, Montaigne’s soaring vocal line makes an equally as powerful entrance. I love the subtle flurries of vibrato and contrasting vocal growls adding layered texture of ethereality to the composition.
The first chorus and its playful key signature shifts tease us once again into the familiar verse. It’s like Montaigne knew we weren’t ready for it – we needed an appetiser before she hit us with the main course. The floodgates have now opened with the second chorus and I welcome its holy goodness washing over me. It’s robust, darkly romantic and sickly sweet, and I cannot get enough.
And just when I think she can’t hit tug at my heartstrings any harder, she manages to snap them with gusts of pizzicato from the strings section in the bridge. ORCHESTRAL STRINGS. GIRL. WHY YOU PLAYIN’?
The climbs and cascades of the melody and instrumental tell a truly adventurous tale and support the narrative of the lyrics perfectly. Montaigne condenses the sound to only her echoing voice and basic piano chords before building to the final chorus.
By this point, I’m fist pumping in solidarity with Montaigne on this victorious journey she’s taken us on. Every element has come together for the finale of this anthem of self-worth and determination. But just as suddenly as it crashed onto the scene, it disappears without a trace or a tacky fade out.
3 minutes and 32 seconds of uplifting purity and I feel all the better for listening to it.