A gentle rollercoaster of emotion
Moving on after losing someone (or something) significant to you tends to be quite a rollercoaster. The supposed “five stages of grief” don’t always happen in sequentially, some stages may be skipped entirely, and you may experience some stages that no one else does. Los Angeles-based piano-man Alex Izenberg ensnares the essence of the confusing, up-and-down process of moving on with his inventive ballad “To Move On,” off of his November 2016 album Harlequin. “To Move On” starts off with a melancholy sequence; waves of piano ebbing and flowing, accompanied by slow, dejected lyrics about sleeping all day, obviously distraught. Izenberg’s vocals have a quirky, nasally quality, much like the iconicvoice of Alt-J’s Joe Newman, and much like a lot of Alt-J’s music, the song quickly changes energy, tempo, and mood. The piano shifts from contemplative, legato key strokes, to short, quick, bouncing stabs, and a ‘70s reggae-inspired baritone saxophone pattern enters the fray, giving the track a more lighthearted feel to it. 
Izenberg shows off his world-class falsetto chops, as he provides his own background vocals in this more upbeat section. The mood then, again, shifts back to the dark, depressing mood; you can almost picture Izenberg sitting behind the piano on a small stage in a dark, poorly attended dinner theatre, wearing sunglasses to hide the pain in his eyes. To finish off the song, we return to the uptempo, almost gleeful feel, perhaps sending the message that, in the end, everything might be okay. While his emotions may be volatile and ever-changing, one thing remains constant: Izenberg’s talent for unconventional composition and songwriting that provides an honest look at the challenges one faces when putting a personal tragedy behind them.