Song of the Week – When I Leave


When I Leave – James Vincent McMorrow.

I can’t get this song off repeat. It’s got so much funk, soul and depth. James Vincent McMorrow can do no wrong in my eyes currently.

He released When I Leave just over a week ago. It was recorded while on tour around the world, bits were put to track in the back room of his tour bus and on the floor of festival dressing rooms. He posted the link to it on his Facebook page, describing it as “not polished”, but I would call it “well polished”. This song doesn’t need anything added to it if you ask me, it’s already superbly written, performed and produced.

This song transforms in its five minutes. It takes on many different shapes, all of which somehow manage to sound cohesive and perfectly logical. I love every different element equally and can’t get enough of the journey McMorrow takes you on in this track.

The introduction, with a simple drum beat and a repeated vocal scale, captures your attention immediately. He has such a magical voice that with an electronica undertone, at this point in the song you’ve already got a winning combination for a fantastic tune. But of course, there’s more to come. The track is layered up with effects galore in the chorus, only to be stripped back again to a raw, subtle but powerful verse. 

McMorrow’s trademark falsetto vocals are on full show in the chorus which increases in crescendo as different musical elements explode together, until it makes you want to throw your arms in the air and move them in slow motion.

Then comes the bridge. Wow. McMorrow simply repeats the words “when I leave” while an almost techno synth sound is repeated, his voice is soon distorted to sound harsher, the words are sped up, the pitch is lifted and you find yourself waiting for an almighty drop in what has become a layered mash up of sounds similar to works by James Blake. But instead of a drum and bass style drop, a bouncy melody is introduced over top to slow down the song again and finish in the same style we heard at the beginning.

The song goes full circle like a movie drama, with an introduction, a developing story, a climax and plateau to finish. It’s a winning combination on all levels.

Somebody get this man to New Zealand already, I must see him live!


Published by

Philippa Ormrod

Facebook: Twitter: @pipormy Instagram: @pipormy I'm in my happy place when listening to music, at a gig or investigating the latest new artists. I've decided it's time for me to stop pestering my friends and family every time I want to rant or rave about the latest goings on in the music world so here I am. I hope you'll enjoy my Pip Squeaks.

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