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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "Next To You" (feat. Mercedes Arn-Horn) - Miles Away

Occam's razor suggests that, often, the simplest answer is the best solution. Consider "Next to You" to be an "Occam's razor" for needless relationship squabble. On the soaring pop duet from Miles Away with Mercedes Arn-Horn, the two find harmony in the purest desires. Over rumbling bass and a sleek trip-hop beat, Miles Away and Arn-Horn trade verses with their complimentary, commanding vocals. The gentle picking of a guitar places an anxiety distinctly atop the mix, bringing out the turmoil in its lyrical context. Best of all is the bridge, which allows the layered vocals to really take center stage. The performances are so impassioned, there's the sense that the song might implode into pure chaos. Right in the sweet spot, before that can happen, the floor drops out and the chorus builds back up again. Even when it feels like everything is in shambles, sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder of the love we share to make those problems seem relatively simple.

"I don't know what we're doing this for," Miles Away opens the first verse. We aren't provided the context of what "this" is, but that's really the point: it's unimportant in the face of togetherness. "Cause I just wanna wake up next to you," he finishes with a silky falsetto. It's this softness that thaws whatever coldness invaded their relationship: a simple reinstatement of common desire. Little bumps in the road can turn into trench-like rifts if they aren't managed healthily. When Mercedes Arn-Horn opens the second verse feeling lost, ("I don't know how to feel anymore,") it's entirely believable. But peering into her subconscious desire for that same, shared closeness, the chorus serves to quash those doubts. When their brilliant vocals blend to repeat the titular phrase, it becomes both a mission statement and a loving reminder. It's a love worth fighting for, not over.

Canadian-based artist, Miles Away, began releasing music in 2017. Since releasing his self-titled, debut EP in 2020, he's seen a meteoric rise to indie-stardom: collaborations, award nominations, and millions of streams. "Next to You" is his first single of 2023, but it follows six, incredible singles released just last year. His confessional lyricism and distinct vocals create a unity across the wide variety of genres Miles Away fuses in his music. His collaboration with fellow Canadian artist, Mercedes Arn-Horn, marks another landmark in his diverse catalogue. Arn-Horn is the vocalist behind the band Courage My Love, garnering millions of streams across platforms.

Written By Andy Mockbee

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