PAUL IWAN – Double Single Review: “Returning (Red)” & “Returning (Blue)”

Paul Iwan3

I’ve recently been revisiting a lot of artists that I’ve previously featured on this blog, as so many of them are putting out new music. One of my personal favorites is British artist Paul Iwan, a gracious and talented singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Liverpool. Last October, I reviewed his outstanding single “Reward”, which was a cover of the song originally recorded by Liverpool new wave band The Teardrop Explodes. I liked it so much, it spent four months on my Weekly Top 30. Now Paul is back with a new single “Returning”, for which he recorded two different versions – “Returning (Red)” and “Returning (Blue)”.

He wrote the song last year for submission to the Liverpool Acoustic 24 hour Songwriting Challenge at Threshold Festival 2019, and he won! Like many singer-songwriters, Paul’s lyrics often reflect his own life experiences. The theme of the 2019 Challenge was ‘Returning’, which inspired Paul to contemplate his own personal struggles with PTSD and addiction, and explore the concept of returning as it relates to his experiences with relapse and regression. The competition also pushed him to venture outside of his usual comfort zone and into a more acoustic setting, where the song could speak for itself.

Now, a year later he has released two newly recorded versions of the song to coincide with what would have been the first day of Threshold 2020 (unfortunately sidelined by the damned COVID-19 pandemic). The Red version of “Returning” is in Paul’s more typical exuberant alt-rock style, with layered synths, loops and electric guitars, whereas the Blue version is stripped back to a simple arrangement with acoustic guitar, piano, vibraphone and subtle percussion. The songs were performed and produced by Paul at Studio 45 in Liverpool, and mixed and mastered by Andy Fernihough at 3rd Planet Studios Liverpool.

So I lean into my darkness
I touch the trauma with the tips of my fingers
Under this light how can I see?
The shadows are shifting; inviting me in.

You are there
You are there
Suffocating and suffering
I hold my hands
I’ll be watching
And I’ll be waiting for you
I’m returning to my fear, its all I know
I’m returning to my tears, it’s all I know.

I know my storm is coming in
Whatever I’ve taken
You hold my soul my memories
This face in the mirror
The face of my nightmare
Lost and corrupted

I’m returning from a distance
But my reflection is all I see
I’m yearning for the past
The one I thought I’d lost forever
So much pain within

I’m returning to my fear
It’s all I know

I like both versions a lot, but I think I prefer the Blue version if I had to choose one over the other. I like the higher clarity of sound in the Blue version, where the lovely piano keys and acoustic guitar really stand out. Also, Paul has a distinctive and vibrant tenor singing voice, and with the more subdued instrumentals, the power of his vocals and lyrics are allowed to shine through. Take a listen to each version, and decide for yourself.

 

Connect with Paul Iwan: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Reverbnation
Purchase on BandcampAmazonMusic Glue

Top 30 Songs for February 23-29, 2020

1. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (1)
2. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (4)
3. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (3)
4. ORPHANS – Coldplay (2)
5. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (6)
6. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (9)
7. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (8)
8. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (10)
9. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (12)
10. YOU? – Two Feet (7) 19th week on list
11. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (5) 20th week on list
12. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (19)
13. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (20)
14. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (15)
15. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (16)
16. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (17)
17. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (18)
18. THE RUNNER – Foals (11)
19. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (21)
20. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (22)
21. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (24)
22. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (25)
23. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (26)
24. REWARD – Paul Iwan (13)
25. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (14)
26. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (28)
27. COLORS – Black Pumas (29)
28. TEXAS SUN – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (30)
29. HERO – Michael Kiwanuka (N)
30. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (23)

Top 30 Songs for February 16-22, 2020

1. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (2)
2. ORPHANS – Coldplay (1)
3. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (4)
4. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (14)
5. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (3)
6. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (8)
7. YOU? – Two Feet (5)
8. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (10)
9. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (11)
10. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (12)
11. THE RUNNER – Foals (7)
12. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (13)
13. REWARD – Paul Iwan (6)
14. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (9)
15. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (16)
16. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (18)
17. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (19)
18. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (20)
19. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (21)
20. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (24)
21. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (22)
22. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (23)
23. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (15)
24. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (25)
25. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (27)
26. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (28)
27. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (17) 25th week on list
28. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (30)
29. COLORS – Black Pumas (N)
30. TEXAS SUN – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 9-15, 2020

1. ORPHANS – Coldplay (2)
2. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (3)
3. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (1)
4. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (5)
5. YOU? – Two Feet (4)
6. REWARD – Paul Iwan (6)
7. THE RUNNER – Foals (7)
8. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (9)
9. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (8)
10. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (11)
11. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (12)
12. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (13)
13. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (15)
14. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (18)
15. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (16)
16. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (17)
17. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (10) 24th week on list
18. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (20)
19. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (21)
20. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (22)
21. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (24)
22. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (23)
23. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (25)
24. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (30)
25. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (26)
26. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (14)
27. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (28)
28. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (29)
29. CIRCLES – Post Malone (19)
30. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 2-8, 2020

1. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (1)
2. ORPHANS – Coldplay (3)
3. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (4)
4. YOU? – Two Feet (2)
5. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (6)
6. REWARD – Paul Iwan (7)
7. THE RUNNER – Foals (8)
8. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (9)
9. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (10)
10. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (5) 23rd week on list
11. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (12)
12. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (13)
13. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (15)
14. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (11)
15. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (18)
16. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (17)
17. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (19)
18. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (27)
19. CIRCLES – Post Malone (14)
20. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (21)
21. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (22)
22. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (23)
23. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (24)
24. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (25)
25. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (26)
26. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (28)
27. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (16)
28. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (N)
29. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (N)
30. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 26-February 1, 2020

1. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (2)
2. YOU? – Two Feet (1)
3. ORPHANS – Coldplay (3)
4. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (4)
5. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (5) 22nd week on list
6. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (8)
7. REWARD – Paul Iwan (9)
8. THE RUNNER – Foals (11)
9. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (13)
10. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (14)
11. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (12)
12. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (15)
13. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (16)
14. CIRCLES – Post Malone (6)
15. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (17)
16. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (10)
17. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (18)
18. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (19)
19. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (20)
20. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (7)
21. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (23)
22. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (24)
23. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (25)
24. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (26)
25. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (27)
26. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (28)
27. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (29)
28. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (30)
29. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (21) 19th week on list
30. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (22) 19th week on list

Top 30 Songs for January 19-25, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (5th week at #1)
2. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (2)
3. ORPHANS – Coldplay (3)
4. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (5)
5. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (6) 21st week on list
6. CIRCLES – Post Malone (4)
7. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (7)
8. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (8)
9. REWARD – Paul Iwan (9)
10. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (10)
11. THE RUNNER – Foals (13)
12. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (14)
13. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (15)
14. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (16)
15. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (17)
16. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (18)
17. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (19)
18. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (20)
19. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (21)
20. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (22)
21. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (11)
22. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (12)
23. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (25)
24. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (26)
25. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (28)
26. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (29)
27. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (30)
28. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (N)
29. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (N)
30. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 12-18, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (4th week at #1)
2. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (3)
3. ORPHANS – Coldplay (4)
4. CIRCLES – Post Malone (2)
5. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (6)
6. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (5) 20th week on list
7. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (9)
8. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (10)
9. REWARD – Paul Iwan (11)
10. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (12)
11. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (7)
12. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (8)
13. THE RUNNER – Foals (13)
14. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (14)
15. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (15)
16. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (16)
17. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (17)
18. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (18)
19. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (21)
20. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (23)
21. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (24)
22. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (26)
23. UNDER THESE SCARS – Falling Into Red ft. Dev (19) 19th week on list
24. LONELY – Secret American (20)
25. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (29)
26. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (30)
27. THE END OF THE GAME – Weezer (25)
28. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (N)
29. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (N)
30. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 5-11, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (1)
2. CIRCLES – Post Malone (2)
3. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (4)
4. ORPHANS – Coldplay (7)
5. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (3)
6. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (9)
7. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (5)
8. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (6)
9. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (8)
10. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (10)
11. REWARD – Paul Iwan (12)
12. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (13)
13. THE RUNNER – Foals (15)
14. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (16)
15. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (17)
16. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (18)
17. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (19)
18. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (20)
19. UNDER THESE SCARS – Falling Into Red featuring Dev (11)
20. LONELY – Secret American (14)
21. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (24)
22. BEEN BUSY – Thunder Fox (23)
23. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (27)
24. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (28)
25. THE END OF THE GAME – Weezer (21)
26. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (30)
27. THE HYPE – twenty øne piløts (25) 23rd week on list
28. OBSESSION – Joywave (29)
29. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (N)
30. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 29, 2019-January 4, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (1)
2. CIRCLES – Post Malone (2)
3. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (4)
4. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (7)
5. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (3)
6. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (6)
7. ORPHANS – Coldplay (8)
8. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (11)
9. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (14)
10. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (12)
11. UNDER THESE SCARS – Falling Into Red featuring Dev (5)
12. REWARD – Paul Iwan (13)
13. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (15)
14. LONELY – Secret American (10)
15. THE RUNNER – Foals (18)
16. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (19)
17. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (21)
18. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (22)
19. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (23)
20. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (24)
21. THE END OF THE GAME – Weezer (20)
22. STAY HIGH – Brittany Howard (9)
23. BEEN BUSY – Thunder Fox (27)
24. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (28)
25. THE HYPE – twenty one pilots (16) 22nd week on list
26. SOMEONE YOU LOVED – Lewis Capaldi (17)
27. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (29)
28. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (30)
29. OBSESSION – Joywave (25)
30. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (N)