Friedemann & His Boyyys
Watch Over You - Single (2017)
Review By Dom Otto Asís
March 30, 2018
Alter Bridge, an American rock band, released Watch Over You ten years ago and without Friedemann & His Boyyys, I would have never heard this song. I owe this group, a quartet formed by Friedemann Petter from Leipzig, Germany, the opportunity to keep enjoying this piece. With much dignity, Friedemann & His Boyyys perform Watch Over You as a melodramatic a cappella version of a post-grunge song. This interpretation of Watch Over You is filled with so much pain and grief — each of the singers delivers the story presented through the lyrics.
One key successful element is the singers' ownership of the lyrics — singing as though this story is written about their own personal pain. This was immediately noticeable when I was just trying to familiarize myself with the song on the first listen. Also, each singer shares the melody starting with Hannes Brümmer, then Friedemann Petter, then Marcel Stefani, and finally Martin Lorenz in the bridge.
The arrangement is very simple, yet effective in conveying the song's riveting lyrics. I usually focus more on the music and chord progressions before focusing on the lyrics — but even if this song was sung in a different language, I'd still hear its woeful message. And with the available content on YouTube that showcases an even more compelling visualization, it breaks my heart into pieces while listening.
As for the mixing, the panning of each voice section to the left and right sides makes Watch Over You sound very organic. It's almost like the baritone is whispering in my left ear, though I'm not sure if that's the intended effect. However, the human factor is preserved and I think that's a good decision in mixing four equally-talented singers.
After all the above-mentioned praises, the only concern I have is the minor recording flaws. There are some slight mic pops and peaks (at 2:22) in the bass section that may bother some audiophiles out there, although these imperfections are easily cancelled out by the Boyyys' emotional rendition of the song. Friedemann & His Boyyys should definitely be proud of this work — it strikes through the heart and delivers the message very clearly. It even made me cry — that's how I know it affected me deeply.