What a Love
What a Tease, the first full-length album from Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Nico Yaryan, is a heart-wrenching display of morose yet hopeful bluesy longing.
Based on his long-distance relationship with a college student from Amsterdam, What a Tease encapsulates the daily struggle of loving someone who lives thousands of miles away. These hardships are expressed beautifully through Yaryan’s yearning lyrics. In “Just Tell Me,” he confesses, “I don’t know why I do what I do/ But I do it for you,” indicating the intense connection he shares with his love. He further evaluates his lover’s power over him in “Witch Love,” in which he asks, “How do I know you’re not controlling me?/ Are you a good witch, baby?” Yaryan then morosely praises his lover in “Your Love Never Lets Me Down,” moaning, “You love me when I don’t love myself.” In the final track of the record, “I’ll Stay With You When You Die,” Yaryan promises they will be together even after death, “The day will come/ to return to where you’re from/ I’ll be right next to you, we’ve only just begun.” As such, the album sews together an enchanting and relatable narrative which rivals that of any John Green novel.
Beyond the catchy and stark lyrics that make up the album, the sorrowful, passionate tone of Yaryan’s voice expresses emotions that even his meticulously-crafted choruses cannot fully embody. While in “Oh Gloria,” Yaryan’s piercing voice is reminiscent of a young Bob Dylan, in “I’ll Stay With You When You Die,” his voice drops a full register, embodying the dull yet powerful voice of Johnny Cash.
What a Tease is a fantastic mix of bare acoustic pieces like “Your Love Never Lets Me Down,” a ballad which belongs on every wedding mix and romance film soundtrack, and developed soulful blues tracks such as “The Magic.” You can dance to this album, you can cry to this album, you could be reminded of old wounds or find closure for recent heartbreaks.
What a Tease is a stunning homage to the hardships of romance in the modern globalized world. The depth of Yaryan’s love and longing are apparent in each and every chord and word. Just as Yaryan’s sound transcends genre, so too does his love transcend thousands of miles.