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Video Spotlight: Scars to Your Beautiful and All Time Low by VoicePlay featuring J.None

That moment when you were going to finish up a post about someone else, but end up writing about VoicePlay instead. Such is the life of a certified VoicePlayaholic. Of course, if they stopped putting out such great content, I wouldn't want to keep writing about them. But who am I kidding? It's VoicePlay. That's not going to happen. Alas, I have no choice but to keep promoting them to the best of my ability. I'd be a sorry excuse for a VoicePlayaholic if I didn't. That other post I was going to work on will get finished at some point. Today, however, it's all about VoicePlay and their wonderful new video.

Truth be told, I was actually pretty anxious about this video. Not this video specifically. We didn't know this was coming until right before it came. So, no, that anxiety had nothing to do with this mashup and everything to do with the fact that it is the first VoicePlay video filmed in 2017. The first one filmed since they announced that Tony had left the group. Now let's be clear. At no point did I question whether I would continue supporting the group or not. One of my favorite things about VoicePlay is that each of them brings something special to the table. I love and appreciate all of them. VoicePlay, in the time that I've been a fan, is what it is because of the individual talents of each of the five members. When combined, the result is greater than the sum of all their parts. Tony leaving did not have any impact whatsoever on the love I have for any of the others. Nor did it impact my love for the group as a whole. There was absolutely no chance that I was going to stop supporting them. None.

I knew that VoicePlay was still going to be VoicePlay. I knew that they were continue to produce quality content. This past year convinced me that not only would they maintain the level of greatness I've come to expect, they'd more than likely exceed it. That's another thing I love about them. They're not the kind of group to be happy staying where they are; they're the kind that gets better and better over time. So what in the world did I have to be anxious about?

On one hand, I know that a lot of the VoicePlay sound is going to stay the same. Oh sure, they might try new things and they might push themselves, but four of the voices are going to be the same. We'll still be able to listen to them and know, without a doubt, that it's VoicePlay just from hearing them. On the other hand, I also know what a difference one voice can make. I've been worried that I wouldn't be able to listen to them without missing Tony's voice. That wouldn't be enough to make me stop listening to them, mind, but I was concerned that there would be a void.

Before we continue, I do need to mention that the fifth gentlemen featured in this video is not the new member of the group. His name is J. None and he is one of our dear VoicePlay fill-ins. Meaning that if you've been to a VoicePlay show over the past couple of months or so, you may have seen this guy. If not, maybe you saw Erik Winger (from ECHO) instead. I know they've had other guys fill-in, but J. None and Erik seem to be their main fill-ins. Let me tell you something: we VoicePlayas love our fill-ins. Hence, why I call them our dear fill-ins. Seriously, while I have not gotten to see either of them perform live - a most terrible problem that I need to remedy at some point - I know other VoicePlayas who have. The comments about our fill-ins aren't just good. They're glowing. 

That's right. Glowing. The general consensus is that both of these guys are wonderful. Not just really talented and entertaining, but really nice as well. I've been a fan of Erik's for months now. He's great and if you've never listened to ECHO, you need to. No, really. You do. I've written about them a handful of times and you can find all of those posts here. Get on that. As far as J. None is concerned, this video was my introduction to him. I'm going to be talking more about him after the video, but spoiler alert? I only have good things to say about him. If you've never heard of either of them, you have a couple of choices. You can go get your ECHO education (ECHOcation?) on and come back afterwards. Or you can keep reading and get acquainted with J. None first and then learn about ECHO. Whichever way you choose to do it, I do hope you check them both out because they're both pretty wonderful.

As for VoicePlay? No, I didn't forget about them. This video has effectively put my anxiety to rest. It's exactly what I needed. It's proven to me, once and for all, that I am able to listen to them without missing Tony. Because you know what? I actually did not find myself missing him at all. That is not meant as an insult to Tony, but rather a compliment to J. None. Again: J. None is just featured on this video. He's not the new member of the group (though I would be completely okay with it if he was). But this reaffirms my belief that whoever VoicePlay ends up bringing up will be someone that can stand on his own two feet. Someone who will bring their own unique talents to the group and make it better. I said this in my "Still Alive" video spotlight and it bears repeating. VoicePlay is still going to be wonderful, no matter who they end up bringing on board. They'll just be wonderful in a different way. 

If this mashup is any indication, this is going to be an outstanding year for VoicePlay and their VoicePlayas. Check it out. 

Leave it to VoicePlay to do something like this. Like I said, this is the first VoicePlay video released since we the fans found out that Tony had left. They did do a collaboration with AJ Rafael that was released over on AJ's channel last month (you can watch it here). It's wonderful and I'll definitely be writing about soon(ish). But they filmed it sometime last fall and we knew about it beforehand. This was filmed last month and they kind of sprung it on us. Let it be known that VoicePlay surprises are the best kinds of surprises. Let it also be known that VoicePlay mashups? The best. "Scars to Your Beautiful & All Time Low" is no different.

I'm going to go on record and say that I think that this is one of the most interesting arrangements they've ever done. Considering how wonderful their arrangements always are, this is a big statement and I'm sticking with it. These two songs are so different. They should not belong together, but it's VoicePlay so of course they made it work. It's such a treat for the ears. I love everything about it.

Vocal percussion? On point (on beat?) because it's Layne we're talking about. Bass line? Wonderfully bassy and perfect for the song. This is something I say over and over about Geoff and he keeps proving it to be true: Geoff is the most musical bass I have ever heard. Favorite rhythm section? Definitely, yes. Eli is Eli. It really doesn't matter what he's doing musically speaking, whether he is on lead or singing harmony or scatting, I know that I'm going to love it.

This is Earl as his, um, Earliest. That high harmony of his is so distinctive and such a big part of the classic VoicePlay song. There's something about him singing the lyrics from "Scars to Your Beautiful" that I just adore. His voice has that wonderful brightness to it that always makes me think of sunshine and there's something very interesting about hearing that kind of voice singing these words. This is my group right here. Doing all their respective things and, yes, they still sound like themselves. Which I knew they would, but it still made me feel better. In some ways it doesn't matter who they add to the group.

That sounded awful. 

It's not that it doesn't matter because of course it does. I'm excited to see who ends up becoming the newest member of VoicePlay. I'm excited about hearing what they bring to the group and what that'll do for the overall sound. What I meant was that I know that whenever Layne, Eli, Geoff and Earl sing together, I know that I'm going to love it. You know, in the past there were times when I felt like the other four (save for maybe Geoff) could kind of get overlooked because Tony was so loved. At the risk of sounding awful again, I kind of feel like Tony being gone is going to let the others shine a little brighter. Don't get me wrong: they've all shined this entire time. But maybe now all of the others will get some more much deserved props. Though I will say that speaking in terms of all the VoicePlayas, I feel like we all love on each of the guys pretty equally. Here's hoping that the general public starts doing so too. I'm all about the balance, you see. 

Which means that now I'm going to need to momentarily push the other four to the side, in the most loving of ways mind you. We need to talk about J. None. The man who fit in so beautifully that I didn't miss Tony at all. Again: this is said as a compliment to J. None. Not a diss on Tony. The main reason I think it worked so well is that J. None's voice is pretty different from his. It's richer and more soulful. That made for an interesting contrast between him Eli and Earl. Maybe more so with Eli, who has always been the most soulful voice of the group. I've been trying to think of a way to compare the two and maybe it's lame, but it's kind of like different shades of the same color. Same basic types of voices and they both have wonderful control over them.

J. None's voice is so silky smooth and I love it. He basically had me from the first note and solidified that around the 1:40 mark. Back when I spotlighted VoicePlay's fantastic "Don't Stop Believin'" video, I decided that each of them deserved a heart-eyes emoji for it and you know what? I think we can safely add J. None to the heart-eyes emoji club. 

Also, let it be known that the men of VoicePlay are masters at building a sound. That part that starts just before the two minute mark is my favorite part of the whole thing. It starts off with Layne and Eli, then J. None comes in. Then Earl and last (but never least) Geoff. Great moments from Layne and Geoff around the 2:36 mark. First, Layne makes this like bubbling kind of sound and then Geoff does this rumbly slide thingy. That would of course be the technical term for that sound. Okay, maybe not. Point being that there's something about both those sounds that I like for some reason. That whole section is golden. I love when groups build up a sound and in my potentially (okay, completely) biased opinion, no one does it better than VoicePlay.

That random thudding sound you heard just now? Oh, that was just me falling in love with all of them all over again. They're good at that and I'm pretty certain that I'm not the only one with this problem. No help for it, I'm afraid. If you don't find yourself slightly in love with them after watching this, I'm not sure you watched it correctly. Try again. Repeat as many times as you wish and if you love it? Share it. Maybe drop them a line telling them so. I'll have all of their social media links down below. There's so much negativity in the world these days and so I've been trying to be better about letting people know when they've done something I appreciate.

On that note, thank you to you, my dear reader for taking the time to read this. I always appreciate anyone who takes the time to read anything I write. Especially considering how long-winded I tend to be. Especially when I write about these guys. I can never seem to help myself. So, if you made it this far, thank you. Hopefully you liked it and if not, well, thank you for reading anyway.

As far as I'm concerned, "Scars to Your Beautiful & All Time Low" is a total win. I'm so happy that they decided to feature the wonderful J. None in a video. It was so great getting to "meet" him. Especially since I'm starting to think that VoicePlay has forgotten that Tennessee exists. I'm kidding. Kind of. I still love them, even if they have forgotten about my beautiful state. Meanwhile, since they were so nice to give us a video featuring J. None, dare we hope that we might get one featuring Erik too? Someday? I mean, for the sake of balance and whatnot. And, you know, because Erik is kind of wonderful too. Seems only fair. I'm just sayin'.

Want to keep up with VoicePlay? You know you do. Here's where you can:

And here's where you can keep up with J. None:

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