I don’t do a lot of music reviews, so bear with me on this one. This is a song that I wanted to write about for two reasons: friendship and the important message it conveys. I have made friends with a number of people online over the years and some of them I talk most days. My connection to RiverSystem started when I began following his sister on Twitter and chatting to her regularly. Along the way I ended up following and talking to her sister-in-law (RiverSystem’s wife and co-writer of this song). It’s her that I’ve met many times over the last few years and I speak to her often online. Through her I met RiverSystem and discovered his music.
RiverSystem’s debut single has a hypnotic feel that will stay with you. The song, and its accompanying video, aim to help raise awareness for mental health. RiverSystem says of his song that it “was a labour of love that was co-written with my wife. It is about how depression or mental health issues can just creep up on you and potentially damage your perception of life.”
Hello Stranger has a strong folk-influenced melody with a melancholic air. There’s a strong rhythm from the guitar riff and that’s overlaid with more delicate synths. The sound builds as the song progresses with multiple layers of music adding richness and complexity. The lyrics are beautifully haunting and the most memorable verse for me is this one:
If I knew you were coming
I would’ve closed all my doors
And held fast against the oncoming storm
The video complements the song and successfully conveys how depression can come back to plague you when you least expect it.