Single Review: Jessica Darrow – Surface Pressure (from the Encanto Soundtrack)

Jessica Darrow is a Cuban-American actress and singer from Miami, Florida with roles as Taylor Reese in the 2021 TV Mini Series ‘Following Hannah Stone’ and Sarah in the 2019 Movie ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ but arguably her biggest role to date is as Luisa Madrigal, the incredibly strong but nonetheless vulnerable middle child of the Madrigal family, in the 2021 animated Disney musical ‘Encanto’. 

So Encanto has become explosively popular since its release in November 2021, with one of the songs ‘We Don’t Talk about Bruno’ reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts (and as of the posting of this review has remained there for 4 weeks) but personally I feel that among the incredible songs in that movie ‘Surface Pressure’ is the superior track, and it certainly deserves to be higher than number 11 where it current sits. Either way, I’m just glad that this movie is getting the love that it deserves and that it has dethroned Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’.

Soundtrack Version’ opens with a sonorous, trilling tone which builds and blends with a deep, electronic bass driven beat, which bleeds into the vocals, the edge of the heavier bass meshing really well with Darrow’s Contralto vocals. I love the transition from talking to singing and how it picks up as the track progresses, and how the instrumental backing becomes more high energy and intense as we go, almost becoming overwhelming, which sort of reflects what the character is going through in the song. I love the break down with the more delicate piano chords, they mirror the drip, drip dripping, but also add a softer note and it’s at this point that the vocals become just a touch more melodious, and Darrow really gets to show off her amazing voice. I love the hammering pace and build right before the second break down, where things become light and airy and sweet and hopefully, before turning again, as the track drives towards the climax. This entire song is a journey, you feel the intensity, the edge, the power of the vocalist and seriously hats off to Lin-Manuel Miranda for writing such a phenomenal song. 

Jazz Cover’ slows things down compared to the original, Darrow still performs the number in a lower register, but she injects a smokyness and a sultryness to her voice. The double bass created a solid beat throughout and the result is an incredible performance that adds even more emotional depth and resonance than the original. You really feel Darrow push her voice in this, give it her all and the pay off is that you feel ever single line she delivers. I’m so glad I stumbled upon it because it just overwhelms you, like good music should. I loved her vocals choices, when she went softer, and when she went heavier, a stunning balance of vocals that just blow me away. 

So that’s what I thought of Surface Pressure, a track performed by Jessica Darrow for the Encanto Soundtrack. If you wish to watch Encanto for yourself it is available on Disney+ and I strongly recommend you watch it. If you wish to support the artist, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram

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