Something that possesses the quality of timelessness also possesses a sense of the familiar. On “Confirmation” by Westerman, soft bleeps color the landscape while Arthur Russell-like strings soften the background. Then, the 26-year-old London-based singer-songwriter’s voice enters the scene. Even if you haven’t heard his voice before, there is something almost recognizable about it.
“Confirmation” discusses the unpredictability of the creative process, a well-trodden road in all arts fields. But Westerman is honest, self-critical, and sometimes even downright harsh on himself, “Scrabble up the walls/Good job, pinhead, so happy you were born.” That straightforward frankness resounds as something we’ve all said to ourselves at one time or another.
Cruelty is not a subject often addressed in popular music, especially when it’s inflicted on one’s self. Westerman, however, is able to make it instantly relatable. His voice has a familiar tone, it’s soft and has no problem reaching high into other octaves, and is somewhat reminiscent of Peter Gabriel or maybe a young Sting – and there is definitely a bit of Nick Drake as well. That familiarity allows listeners to accept Westerman’s harshness, much like we do when we are critical of ourselves.
The song also comes with a video, which stars a purple Westerman. The singer-songwriter says about the video, “We tried to put across otherness, impulsiveness and escapism. These are concepts I associate with, so I tried to make it a bit more of a personal thing than what I’ve done before. I hope it’s playful and fun too.”
Much like the song, the video comes off as a personal offering. That personal quality is something that rings out in Westerman’s music and makes it instantly familiar and wonderful. “Confirmation” is instantly timeless because it feels like something you’ve heard or seen before. It’s almost a reflection caught in a storefront window while walking down the street. “Who was that?” It’s you.
HURRY – LISTEN – WESTERMAN