Frank Topper & Shannon Laing – “Off the Ground”

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Perhaps it’s redundant to add yet another flattering review to what is already a chorus of praise for lyricist Frank Topper and his collection of collaborations with some of internet’s talented musical songwriters. Still, I’m always inspired to write as I listen to Frank’s poetry and yet again marvel at how truly excellent it is. The emotional layers of his song lyrics are not as furtive as current pop releases, which is one distinctive merit relative to Frank’s so-called peers. Frank Topper’s lyrics display unadulterated emotional clarity. He is an artist (albeit part-time, may I add) of remarkable honesty and interior beauty.

On “Off the Ground”, young Canadian music college student, Shannon Laing, rocks with her piano, and she writes a gorgeous arrangement to match Topper’s lyrics, which are unattainable to lesser artists. She is obviously complemented by lyrics that tantalize with their complex imagery. Her brilliance puts most of today’s pop puppets to shame. There’s something magical about this song.

Frank Topper’s songs utilize beautiful, raw emotion, and lyrical poetry to address a wide array of issues, and he always seems to find just the right musical collaboration to exult his lyrics. Shannon’s style is uniquely her own, and the contrasts between soft piano-playing and abrupt emotional outbursts of strident notes and words are incredible. This is best exemplified by her performance of “Off the Ground”, but which can also be found on “Another Reason”, as well as, “Liked You Better When You Loved Me”.

Frank Topper has released a lot of brilliant songs through Youtube – all in raw first draft appearances. He never uses elaborately polished arrangements with full instrumentation, rather just sketch board ideas; nonetheless, they remain remarkably accessible and suck you into Topper’s world, getting you interested in other, deeper stuff by him.

Frank Topper is one of those lyricists who you can sum up in one word: Genius. You might not think so at first, but if you don’t, you really should listen harder.

I must also give credit and respect to Shannon Laing who has managed to write and perform her own music along with Frank’s lyrics as beautifully as she does. She has an angelically alluring voice and I think she is a great inspiration who doesn’t need to show off anything. A totally original, emotionally compelling piano player, she wraps the sound of “Off the Ground”, around your ears like a blanket to warm up your imagination.

Sometimes, I wonder if Frank Topper knows the effect his songs may have on people? It may be time to move to the next level of recording…

Frank Topper
Frank Topper

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