Without wasting a stitch of time, Chris Chitsey’s “Last Time I Saw You” begins to unveil a harmony in its opening bars that will only grow stronger with every passing beat. It doesn’t take long for Chitsey’s vocal to find its way into the middle of the mix, decadently upholding the strut of the instrumentation with a slew of words that together form beautifully pastoral poetry. “Last Time I Saw You” was written by Chitsey, sounding like one of the true seasoned pros in this game, and in this particular instance the melodies he employs sound as refreshing and on-point as any of those the young up-and-comers in the industry are producing at the moment. This is contemporary country for a new era, and it’s hitting record store shelves right when we need it to this summer.
The rhythm of the music in “Last Time I Saw You” is at first subtly expressive, but as we get further along in the song, it becomes just as big an influencer of the mood as any of the melodic elements in the track are. More often than not, especially in pop and country music, artists end up with a certain level of unutilized space in their recordings that often goes unchecked by producers mostly for the sake of keeping a song’s high points preserved, but that’s not an issue in this particular scenario.
This is a remarkably robust composition, to begin with, but thanks to the meticulousness of the production quality, there’s scarcely an instance where it feels like we’re getting anything less than the complete tonality of every instrument in the mix.
No matter how many times I listen to this single, I can’t help but get lost in the hypnotic lyrics. There’s so much aching passion in every verse that slips from Chitsey’s lips that it’s hard to believe he co-wrote this with someone else. It never seems as though he’s forcing the point or trying to get something across to the audience that isn’t purely his and his alone, and for this being a solo venture as opposed to being a collaboration, that’s saying something quite impressive. He’s got one-of-a-kind energy that translates here so flawlessly, and if given the time and space to cultivate his approach a little more, he could be quite the contender in his scene.
Country’s vast underground scene has been producing incredible talent since the beginning of the music business, but if you’re looking for something truly unique and heartfelt this summer, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone quite like Chris Chitsey and his new single “Last Time I Saw You.” As emotionally potent as it is melodically spellbinding, “Last Time I Saw You” might not be the love song we asked for this July, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to the seasonal soundtrack just the same. I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from Chitsey in the future, and with any luck, this won’t be the last time that he brings this sense of personality into the studio to make some legit magic happen.