We first heard from Henry Mansfield in May of 2020. At the time the Seattle singer, songwriter, pianist and bandleader was about to drop his double single “Jury Duty+Young/Lovely.” With that release we were introduced to an insightful Gen Y songwriter with a sharp wit and a fantastic band. The two songs worked together as a sort of millennial anthem told from a very personal perspective.
On Friday, February 19, 2021, Henry Mansfield will release his brand new single, “Now vs Forever.” On this record Henry takes his perspective more personally still. Rather than examine the status of his generation, on “Now vs. Forever ” he is just trying to get a handle on his own thoughts as he falls angst-ridden into love. The songwriter describes the narrative as, “following a love story in a racing mind.” The manic mood will ring true to any scatterbrain who has gone head over heels.
The music of “Now vs. Forever” flows brilliantly with the mood of the lyric. The song opens with a kinetic but not frantic piano arpeggio progression. However, as the singer’s thoughts begin racing in a thousand directions, so too does the music. By the second verse the sound is a wild swirling mix of piano, bass and guitar riffs. It’s a cool vibe as a whole, and if you focus on individual parts you realize that these guys really know how to play.
The track builds in volume and energy from there. Meanwhile Henry chants a bit of Northwestern Zen to himself with the mantra, “Now is not forever, so don’t think about forever.” The self affirmation works briefly as the song comes back to the start. A cymbal chokes and Henry is alone again with his piano. Sadly, as soon as this moment of mindfulness arrives, it is scooted away by the singer’s racing thoughts and the song shifts to its conclusion.
Once again, Henry Mansfield and company have delivered a smart, catchy Pop record with layers of musical and lyrical complexity. It’s a great song, especially for fans of bands like The Hold Steady, Fun, Ben Folds or Death Cab For Cutie. Pre-save the song now and stream it everywhere on January 19, 2021.