Rising from the silence like stars dotting a blanket of night sky just as twilight reaches its peak, we hear the opening bars of Chris Ning’s new single and music video “Explode” beginning to emerge from the darkness and fill the air around us with a warm melodicism.

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The guitar aches with a lonesomeness that will only find salvation in the velvety vocal Ning is laying between the six-string and the bassline, the latter of which is starting to swell with an angst incapable of going away anytime soon in this setting. “Explode” isn’t even sixty-seconds in, and already it’s creating the sort of mood that most simple compositions of its kind would require a lot of synthetic assistance to produce. 

As we press on further into the depths of the atmospheric harmonies here, we find more and more rigidity in the rhythm coupled with a sly, deceptively hesitant lead vocal from Chris Ning that will soon become the only flash point of heat we’re able to focus on. Before we know it, it’s as if the entire mix is starting to constrict around us like a snake, with the grooves gravitating towards us with upmost aggression. We’re running out of space while it would seem as though Ning is running out of time to get his message out to us, and in an instant, everything comes apart to make space for an epic guitar solo straight out of the heavens. 

“Explode” somehow finds its way back to the solace of the strumming acoustic guitar, which carries us into the conclusion of the song and its music video with a raw awareness of mortality, pain, and how the two can become intertwined when the right people aren’t stepping in to lend a helping hand. There’s no putting a value on the sort of narrative that Chris Ning is unleashing in this single, as it is arguably as great as life itself can be.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Explode/dp/B08H7CFG9Y

Ning puts all of himself into the performance that we discover him giving here, in yet another single leading into his debut LP, and I would have to say it’s one of the best he’s shared so far. 

Garth Thomas