Miccoli Shows Resilience with “Tell Me”
Reinventing the wheel is difficult in the music world. With each passing year, there are that many more releases from bands trying to put an original spin on old themes like love, sex, and heartbreak. With their recent single, “Tell Me” the British sibling group Miccoli does a decent job of packaging a timeless subject with an original sound and impressive chemistry. While the song doesn’t necessarily burst any of the boundaries of our collective musical conventions, it’s a solid contribution to the realm of alternative indie pop.
Miccoli, which is the siblings’ surname, consists of twins Adriano and Alessandro and sister Francesca, who all contribute to the group’s vocals and work together to add guitars, piano, clarinet, and harmonica, although not all those instruments are heard on “Tell Me.” The group’s cohesion, however, is on full display. It’s evident at every moment in the track that these musicians have been playing together for a long time. The performances, as well as the song’s arrangement, are tight and effective, demonstrating a unified sound that is clearly sprouted from their familial bond.
“Tell Me” actually begins in a way that sounds much more generic than the rest of the song. The opening acoustic guitar strumming and familiar chord progression lead the listener to thinking this might be a repeat of so many other songs in the same style. When the song’s electric guitar layers and vocals come in, though, it’s clear that Miccoli have their own sound. By the time the chorus starts, the Miccoli sound is in full effect. The vocal melody is catchy but perhaps more noticeable is the electric guitar, which starts in on a glittery riff that gives the song an original stamp.
The lyrics of “Tell Me” present someone pursuing a love interest but not receiving much in return. Each verse ends with the words, “With my head in my hands and my heart on my sleeve / I’m trying my best now so let me be.” These lyrics imply that our narrator is sensitive to feelings and is trying to deal with a world that is not always very forgiving. In the memorable chorus melody, the band sings, “Feels like I’m wasting my time now / tell me, I’ll stand up and take it / Feels like you’ve [sic] give it your best shot / tell me I’m not wasting time on you.” The narrator seems to need some direction in whether to continue with the love interest, or perhaps he feels played and is at his wit’s end. There’s a level of ambiguity with the words that keep the intentions open-ended and probably allow the song to connect with more listeners.
Even with the track’s fairly moody lyrical content, the music seems to offer a sense of hope, particularly in the bridge. While using the traditional technique of a breakdown in the bridge, Miccoli makes it work as the music gradually builds back up with a thumping bass, a swelling arrangement, and the resilient words, “Give me your best shot.” As the chorus repeats to close the song, it feels as though our narrator is coming to terms with the situation and taking control as opposed to solemnly giving up on someone.
So even though (or perhaps because) “Tell Me” follows a definite formula in its structure and content, the Miccoli siblings make it work in a way that will satisfy audiences as well as cementing their original sound. And in the current musical landscape, that is not an easy feat.