Lucy Mellenfield's Tournesols is a monumental debut single; one of those rare songs that makes you feel nostalgic for something you can't even recall. Tournesols has a beautiful origin story, one simply too wonderful to miss a chance to retell: Lucy Mellenfield was spending some time in a southeastern French commune called Chèzeneuve, writing lyrics inspired by the bountiful fields of sunflowers that surrounded her. "Some days I would pass and they would be full of life and in full bloom, but other days the sun got the better of them and they would be lifeless, dry and limp," she told Voice FM, describing the process in which she wrote the lyrics. "The song draws parallels between both the needs and desires of sunflowers and humans, using the sun as a metaphor for our ambitions." All of this inspiration and imagery seeps into every fibre of the track. If the arrangement were a painting, then Mellenfield's voice would be the most prominent colour. She sings in the way people talk about someone they love - passionately, with varying levels of dynamic range and emotion. What's more, the musical elements accompanying Mellenfield are incredible and self-restrained: there's the twinkling piano that moves at a satisfying pace, the subtle presence of strings, and a perfect amount of reverb. Everything - and I mean everything - in the arrangement seems to be responding directly to Mellenfield, and to her internal emotions. When strings build during the chorus, it sounds conducted by Mellenfield's voice.
As she told Voice FM, "In a society where there is competition everywhere, there is an expectation among ourselves to be successful in everything we do, however, this is a false reality. The song warns us of the danger of burning ourselves out and ultimately embodies the idea of living with just the right amount of ambition, pride and happiness." On the final verse, she sings, in an intimate manner, and it is maybe the barest, most personal vocal performance you'll hear on a record this year - whether you speak French or not. To put it briefly, Mellenfield evidently has a lot of weapons at her disposal, but Tournesols reveals her personality as her most powerful.
Tournesols is due for release on Friday 22nd November and will be available on all streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. In the meantime, you can listen to Lucy Mellenfield via SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/lucy-mellenfield George Miles - Follow me on Twitter @GeorgeMiles6