This article was first published in our online discussion forum. Come on over to https://vandervault.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=553 to join the conversation about this article.
I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way…by now you should all know how high an extreme regard in which I hold Grace’s music, but “Poser”, with just this little live (slightly muddy audio) recording I can hear Grace evolving with a massive quantum leap.

 

This song, even more than the well polished and commercially accessible “Waste My Time”, sounds like it’s on a parity with the best music being put out today.

I know, I know, I can hear many of you screaming at the top of your lungs; “What?! Blasphemy! Grace has always been FAR ahead of all the other garbage so called ‘artists’ are putting out today!”, but that’s simply not true. If you’ve tuned out of the music scene for the last decade (or few), or if you are judging all of the contemporary music industry based on Top 40 radio, you can be forgiven for forming such an opinion, but there is some amazing top-tier music being made, and “Poser”, rather ironically, can sidle up to any of them and say “Wassup?” without having to feel awkward about it in any way.

This song fires hard on all cylinders, lyrically, vocally (the phrasing Grace uses is very tricky) musically, and in its production (from what we can hear on the muted backing track).

“Poser” was most likely developed with Ido Zmishlany, as Grace has been working almost exclusively with him for the last year, but there is also a possibility that this may be a collaboration with writer/producer Dan Nigro with whom Grace met back in July.

Just to give you a flavour of Dan Nigro’s work…

Freya Ridings (“Castles”) (Producer credit):
Lewis Capaldi (“Mercy”) (Writer/Producer credit):
Finneas O’Connel (“Heaven”) (Writer/Co-Producer credit) (WARNING: Explicit Lyrics):
Caroline Polachek – (“Door”) (Writer/Producer credit)
All of the above linked songs have very crisp, intricate and creative productions the likes of which we haven’t seen from Ido (with Grace as a client) since his work on “Moonlight”, and “Florets” in particular. I’m not saying that “Ur So Beautiful” and “Waste My Time” had lazy, or unambitious productions, but rather that they fit into Grace’s concept of “chill”, where the mood she was going for was laid-back and relaxed, a vibe that extended into the production values.

“Poser”, alternatively, seems to exhibit some proud complexities and some risk taking not found in an Ido-produced Grace produced song since, again, “Florets”.

I hope this is Ido’s work, because if it is then I’m far more excited at the prospect of Grace working with him even more in the future.

Lyrically, as can be found in our discussion forum where many of our Vault members are trying to decipher the lyrics, Grace is doing some really intricately phrased artistry here. The topics of belonging, loneliness, ostracization, and insecurities are tackled so very subtly, or as Grace may say “effortlessly”, but as is the tradition with Grace’s songs, you can dig as much as you like and find ever deeper levels of meaningful strata to mine.

I can’t wait to hear more live versions leading up to the release of the studio produced track. To me this is the song the label should eventually push as hard as they are ready to at this stage of what they, and Grace, feel she is ready for. I don’t necessarily believe this will be a massive smash (though it could be if paired with a memorable and equally creative music video and sufficient “push”), but it’s a heck of a terrific song to be primarily associated with.

Much as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted British band Radiohead will forever be associated with their first big hit “Creep”, despite creating hours of ground-breaking and influential music over their 30 year history, the similarly themed “Poser” would make a great song for people to first think of when they hear the name “Grace VanderWaal”. “I Don’t Know My Name” is her current signature song, but Grace has evolved so much since that first “proper” song she ever wrote that I would like to see more for her moving forward, and “Poser” certainly is “more”.

This is an absolutely mesmerizing song, and if it is any indication of what we can expect from the new EP (please let it be at least 8 tracks (many EPs are) I will be one floored FanderWaal when it drops.

Where would you rank “Poser” in Grace’s catalogue, again allowing that we only have one cell-phone captured performance on which to judge it?