The award-winning singer-songwriter, John Michael Ferrari has returned with a generous and emotional single, entitled “My Heart Can’t Breathe”, that suggests a mature, philosophical perspective on painful memories of a broken relationship, without losing his impish sense of melody and taste for lavish organic arrangements. Fittingly, then, it’s a song that takes stock, both lyrically and musically – imparting lessons learned over time and giving John Michael another chance to showcase his versatility as a songwriter, not to mention that gift of a voice, equally impressive as a languid croon, or when reaching resonant heights.
It’s immediately apparent that working with producer Pepper Jay, is a good fit. Pepper has created something that has a fresh pop feel, while giving a nod to classic singer-songwriter tracks, all the while curbing any tendency to veer off on indulgent musical tangents, allowing John Michael Ferrari’s voice to dominate, with the support of Tania Hancheroff’s backing vocals. Indeed, “My Heart Can’t Breathe”, is all crisp, multi-tracked pianos, electric guitars and swooning harmonies.
Beginning as a mid-tempo, reflective piece, with steady drum parts circling the piano and vocal, it soon becomes a testimony of lost love (“It’s too late, too late for me. I’ll do my laundry in privacy”). The momentum builds, adding shimmering guitars to mesmerizing effect, until the dam breaks and John Michael Ferrari unleashes a vocal of remarkable reach, and the song builds to an emotionally draining crescendo. This is the kind of gorgeous and languorous track that John Michael does so well.
John Michael Ferrari sets the bar here, as this songs constitutes a high point in the artist’s catalog, and swings him into the elite group of lithe songwriters and nimble singers. Sentimentality has never been an issue for John Michael, but rarely have his songs reflected so cathartically on his own life, in such a self-enlightened and mature manner. “My Heart Can’t Breathe” is a vehicle for his effortlessly towering voice, taking on a spine-tingling profundity and emotiveness.
“My Heart Can’t Breathe” is a full-circle moment for John Michael Ferrari as he draws from all aspects of his musical and personal life to create a timeless song that marks a new creative peak for the singer-songwriter. Surrounded by a delightful sea of pop orchestration, John Michael comes at us with a familiar sense of wry emotional exploration, where the tone is tempered by a feeling of awareness that only arrives with acknowledgement and acceptance.
This is a song awash in AM Gold. It rings out with wisdom and hard-won sincerity, gathered from the aftermath of loss. It is about unravelling the reason and logic long after the groundwork has been shattered beneath your feet. The openness with which John Michael Ferrari writes and sings makes this song compelling and very relatable. As with much of John Michael’s work, it’s a song worthy of many adjectives, which belongs on many people’s playlists. The conflict between emotion and reason makes for a track one will want to listen through, again and again.