17-year-old singer/songwriter Kiara Chettri had released her first album a few months back. Titled 4AM, the record might have been slightly formulaic for a few indie-pop listeners but it was definitely a noteworthy debut. Despite her young age, Chettri definitely exhibits a powerful control over her voice along with a mature sense of lyricism.
Her new single Why follows a familiar approach to its subject. It plays out as a mellow love ballad as the singer seeks to ask out why a certain someone in her life isn’t right by her side, especially at a time when she requires their comfort. It’s a relatable theme that suits the present-day melancholia and solitude that many young listeners would be facing.
But more than the songwriting, it’s the overall musical and vocal buildup that sets the song apart from the work of other such bittersweet indie releases. While the lyrics obviously point towards a person’s low point in life, the orchestral arrangement towards the end offers a sense of hope to get out of this slump. Produced and mixed by noted musical auteur Rohan Solomon, Why starts with a haunting key arrangement that plays over and over again until Chettri’s grandiose harmonies and the rest of the instrumental ensemble take center stage.
The chorus is definitely a high point of the track. It’s heartfelt and impactful leaving no room for pretense. Chettri is a self-admitted fan of Sam Smith whose discography serves as an inspiration to her in musical terms. This is very evident given the themes and nature of her new release. Smith’s songs, especially in his debut album In The Lonely Hour, similarly played around elements of loneliness and gloom. With that being said, Chettri is definitely finding her own original voice with one release after the other.
Verdict: An amalgamation of gloomy and hopeful sounds making for a relatable, inquisitive track.