Dan Black – Symphonies – Single Review

Dan Black

There’s been a bit of Dan Black fever this week: he’s been mentioned on Radio 1 by Fearne Cotton, and I’m hearing lots of buzz about his new single, Symphonies. So, like the dedicated music correspondent that I am, I decided to give Symphonies a whirl and give my verdict here.

The song seems to borrow the intro drum sequence from Rihanna’s Umbrella, but that’s not a criticism: it’s a funky snare/cymbal combination. Though that shouldn’t define the song – it’s a rather epic song, containing string sections and an accompanying video which sees Black falling into a stack of movie moments.

Towards each chorus, Black’s voice sounds like he’s been possessed by the ghost of Daft Punk, which lends an interesting aspect to the song, which is already a multi-layered slice of pop genius. I really could listen to this over and over again.

Enjoy the video (below) – it should whet your appetite for the weirdly titled album ((un)). I don’t think there’s anybody else making music this interesting at the moment. Thumbs up.

For more Dan Black, visit his MySpace page or his official website. Symphonies is released on the 29th June and the album ((un)) follows on 6th July.


  1. RandomEnigma

    When I first heard about Dan Black, I thought he was yet another boring soft rocker like James Morrisson, James Blunt etc. but from hearing this song, I think he is very innovative. This song is fantastic with so many layers.

  2. Lashrito

    This song just appeared as the ‘Free Single of the Week’ on iTunes. Everyone accuses Dan Black of lifting the Um-ber-ella beat. The much bigger theft–to which this song owes any of its popularity–is the synth string theme taken directly from John Carpenter’s movie ‘Starman’. Many reviewers are probably too young to remember this 80s movie with Jeff Bridges as a crash-landed alien posing as a human. It was a pretty popular movie, with a very prominent main theme. Sampling isn’t going away, but props where they’re due. So if Dan Black borrowed the basic beat & lyrical cadence from Umbrella, AND stole Starman’s theme, is he really much of an ‘artist’?

  3. GeedUp

    The Jack Nitzsche score for Starman is my all-time favourite. Here Dan Black takes samples from this beautiful score and well yeah, of course the song wasn’t going to fail. There is no way it could. Taking the beat from ‘Umbrella’ is nothing. Credit where credit’s due I say.

  4. ATateNJ

    Listen closely to the back ground riff or sample in this song.  Seems Rihonna  is not the only one borrowed from.  Anyone familiar with the movie “Starman” by the late John Carpenter staring Jeff Bridges will recognize the “synth organ” sample from this movie continuously repeated in the background.  Just an observation!

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