Gary Edward Allen watches life deal out its Final Surprise in his darkly compelling folk-rock single and lyric video — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
A steady drum beat, laid-back guitar riffs and Allen’s relaxing vocals open the song with a contemplative vibe strongly reminiscent of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. This is enhanced by the song’s introspective lyrics about how things have changed since the singer last saw someone:
“Left me empty as a shell with nothing left to give,
Broken yet unburied, but I’m sure it’s good to be home again,
Funny how things always change on a nickel or a dime,
Took your turn at being weak To be the one with only time left to pay.”
“I wrote Final Surprise in the spring of 2019,” the Toronto singer-songwriter says. “The opening line: ‘Left me empty as a shell, with nothing left to give, broken yet unburied, but I’m sure it’s good to be home again’ is almost being a bit cheeky in the face of a funeral … It’s about standing with someone and feeling helpless while they fall into the abyss.
“Things can change for people so quickly, and you can only hope that someone can find their way out, find a way to get up again. People can only run so far from their demons before hopefully the demons stop chasing them, hopefully before the demons win. So as peppy and upbeat as the song sounds, it’s about that dark struggle. I like writing within that paradox.”
He’s had plenty of practice. Allen started playing guitar at age seven, but truly fell in love with it as a teen after hearing Queen and KISS. In his early 20s, he began playing in clubs. After moving to Vancouver in the ’90s, Allen stopped performing, but never stopped playing and singing. When he hit his 40s, he returned to music and recorded his first songs, eventually teamed up with AJ Ottaway and Jake Broder for the albums Ottaway Broder Allen and Invictus. Allen kicked off his solo career in 2017. Final Surprise is one of a string of singles that include Make It Happen and The Precious Ones.