There are birds singing sweetly, trilling and humming and chirruping us gently into this song. A simple melody plucked on an acoustic guitar enters. At the end of it, the most perfect complementary notes, high on the fret, lead us into the vocals of “Beautiful Gray.”
“Whispers, shivers flee my heart when I see you. Not quite spoken, but I think you feel it too.” A single violin accompanies Alyssa Kelly’s voice and the guitar. When she slips effortlessly into the chorus, she hits some minor notes that give her vocal melody a creepy but still dreamy lilt. It makes you want to follow her, like she’s taking us into a secret garden and showing us something magical.
The sound and tone of this song match the lyrics beautifully. With a title like “Beautiful Gray,” I was worried this would slip into the territory of saccharine melancholy, but instead Kelly weaves us into the quiet, contemplative mood with deftness and skill, only adding one layer at a time. First the violin, and then in the second verse, a plaintive but beguiling piano strain twirls beneath the main melody. The backing vocals sound like they could’ve come straight out of a Danny Elfman score. Before we know it, we’ve made it into the full lushness of the song, and it’s gorgeous.
Her chorus, especially, is striking. “I love you in this sad but happy state, beautiful gray.” She draws everything out so poignantly, her voice waving and sighing and falling. The second time the chorus comes around, she stretches out the last word, “you,” into a simple but very pretty bridge.
As we float into the final chorus, all the parts swell upward together, and then she finishes with, “I’m waiting for you.” The strings fade out. Then the guitar fades out. The birds, still sweetly chirping, fade out too.
If you enjoy “Beautiful Gray” by Alyssa Kelly, you might also like “How Long Will You Love Me” and “I Don’t Want It.”