Our hearts are Gone Without a Trace after Chris Poulson’s latest.

Carried in by a simple guitar and descending swiftly from heartbreak city, Chris Poulson’s latest, “Gone Without a Trace” is an emotional pop-ballad reminiscent of the mid 90’s boyband boom. 

While the song itself sits pretty firmly in the pop scope, it embraces 80’s r&b drum techniques and vocally Poulson seems well suited for both country-rock and modern pop. The culmination of these distinct styles makes for a unique soundscape that would feel as at home in Nashville’s best honkey tonks and it surely does in Poulson’s hometown of L.A. 

Beginning with an airy, dream-like chorus-saturated guitar line before a steady bass drum thumps in marking the first verse, Poulson begins by setting the scene for us, describing a slow burning candle as he discovers that the person he most admires has seemingly disappeared and he’s left to contemplate what changed that caused them to leave. 

With no one around to hear him, Poulson steers himself towards an apology, sure that his own insecurities have led to this disappointing discovery (we can relate). 

As the drums pick up with soft claps and we ascend into the impassioned chorus, Poulson still finds himself questioning why he’s met this fate and he yearns deeply for a chance to meet his love just once more to find out if this can be salvaged. The chorus, filled with rich atmospheric synths and layered dance-pop vocals is almost too happy for the devastation that Chris is describing and we can’t help but find ourselves wanting to bop and sway along, enjoying his agony and welcoming our own reflections of our previous fizzled relationships. 

There’s a brief instrumental break where our own hearts linger for an intensified bridge breakdown that brings fourth some clarity in an enthusiastic rush, but instead the track seems to mostly falter off as the vocals croon on before returning for one last pronounced plea. 

While it has all the makings of a great pop ballad, it’s steady and dreamy aesthetic keeps it grounded and tranquilizing; At times where it lifts, we wish it would swell until our hearts feel fit to burst and when it descends, we long to feel ourselves within the pit of despair, begrudgingly crying in the well-timed rainstorm. Regrettably we don’t quite get that out of this one, but it absolutely succeeds in hitting those late 80’s-mid 90’s pop-ballad sweet spots and makes for a soothing light listen.

Keep up with Chris Poulson on his social media channels.

Need some more ear candy? Here are some recommendations from the CF team.
*NSYNC – Gone
Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is

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