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Retro Synthpop Single Review: "Hinterlands" by Blue Nagoon feat. Salissa Thole

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.


Blue Nagoon’s Hinterlands commences as smoothly flowing sound sweeps into brightly flashing string-like synth. The synth moves in a dynamic, uplifting melodic pattern over truly gigantic bass. The leaping, throbbing retro drumbeat pulsates under swelling guitar. The driving beat joins Salissa Thole’s caressing, resonant vocals and the guitar is full of positive energy.

The vocals are expressive as they radiate through the music and dancing, shimmering synth flickers out. The guitar cries out passionately as Salissa Thole’s voice leaps over the pounding drums and guiding bass. After a quick digital flicker, the guitar flies out and matches Salissa Thole’s powerful, rich vocal performance.

The gleaming synth accents flash and the drums and bass press on as the guitar soars along with the vocals. The massive retro drums now fading into a misty, swirling moment before the full uplift of the musical elements dance out again.

Love and desire can be hypnotic and all-consuming, but there’s a danger to being swept away. This song expresses that idea as the narrator fails to see that “the bridge was crumbling up ahead” and misses the sunrise as she was “tangled in your tresses in your bed… drowning in the pools of your eyes.” Now our narrator feels the “call of the horizon” because at the moment “here there be dragons.”

Our storyteller says she belongs “in the hinterlands, on the ragged edge” as far away as possible from the other person. She admits they’d “still a beating heart” but concludes that “the bitter truth” is that there’s “one thing love can’t do.”

The narrator points out that she plays to win while the other person plays “for keeps.” She talks about how the other person’s touch is “the coldest fire on my skin.” She says that the other person is spinning in their dress as “the house is burning.” Our narrator’s need to escape means she is “deafened by the call of the wilderness.”

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© 2022 Karl Magi

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