Balance is a key ingredient in any single, but when you’re working with elements of country-rock and Americana, I think it has a little more weight than normal. Aesthetically speaking, there’s a very evenhanded feel to “I Guess I Am the Only One” from the collaborating pair Lorenzo Gabanizza and Jeff Christie that I don’t find very often in the pop scene of current, and although they’ve got a heady heartland structure to their new song, nothing is tethering this to the needs of one audience over another. For Gabanizza and Christie, the most important element in this track is melodicism.
Tonally, “I Guess I Am the Only One” leans on some Nashville concepts that I feel go great with the stylization of the lead vocal and the verses it’s conveying to us, and while I would have liked a little more from the guitar in the big picture here, there’s nothing specifically wrong with the streamlined look Gabanizza and Christie are utilizing here. Timing is everything, and when you look at the majority of music in this genre coming out at the moment, few of the much-buzzed releases to make any headway in the mainstream can compete with the full-bodied mix in this track.
The vocal harmony at the climax of the chorus is definitely one of the hottest elements of the song, but I would be lying if I said that its role isn’t made just a bit stronger because of the way the percussion is being presented on the front and back ends of this arrangement. Instead of pinning the drums parts beneath the strings, Gabanizza has everything competing against the tempo for the lion’s share of our affection, which leads to some of the better sonic friction I’ve heard in a blue-collar country crossover in some time.
As far as lyrics go, you can tell that Gabanizza and Christie are on the same page artistically, and the narrative in this piece evolves as much on the strength of the instrumentation as it does on the charisma of the singing. It doesn’t take much to come up with a smart rhythm and rhyme to follow a hook, but giving us something communicative on multiple levels is a lot more compelling than what the status quo calls for – and it’s what these two artists are going out of their way to give us in “I Guess I Am the Only One.”
There’s a lot to look forward to within the futures of these collaborators, and as much as I would love to hear them work together again soon, it might be better to see and hear what they’re able to break off when there isn’t any pressure to design something around the needs of a peer. Lorenzo Gabanizza is running point in this performance, but he and Jeff Christie are undeniably of the same style and level of talent, which makes a piece like this one all the more interesting for those of us who have a more discerning taste in popular music.