Courtesy of the artist
Active Child's "Hanging On" is a break-up ballad, but it's the rare variety that chooses maturity over self-pity.
Active Child's "Hanging On" is a break-up ballad, but it's the rare variety that chooses maturity over self-pity. Courtesy of the artist
Song: "Hanging On"
Artist: Active Child
CD: You Are All I See
Pat Grossi is from New Jersey, has orange hair, and looks like the kind of guy who owns a few skateboards. He used to sing with the Philadelphia Boys Choir when he was little and still plays the harp. These days, Grossi mixes the many sides of his personality using the moniker Active Child, for which he adds synthesizers and dubstep beats to his classical repertoire. A man of apparent contradictions, Grossi splashes his pristine vocals all over Active Child's full-length debut, You Are All I See, and the result is dizzyingly gorgeous.
"Hanging On" is a break-up ballad, but it's the rare variety that chooses maturity over self-pity. When Grossi sings, "I just can't keep hanging on / to you and me," his voice radiates grief rather than anger. Grossi's androgynous vocals prove limber enough to play both of the wounded lovers in this domestic tragedy: Phrases alternate between an arresting tenor and ethereal falsetto. The anthem's naked plaintiveness reflects the futility at the song's core: What do you do once there's nothing left to salvage?
Still, "Hanging On" is ultimately cathartic. As the song begins to fade, a hushed harp lulls the listener back into dreamy gentility — a reminder that even the most painful passages in life can be fleeting.