Joan Mercury’s Proceed With Caution is a song that takes on the subject of a manipulative partner, someone who plays mind games and toys with the feelings of those they supposedly care about. The way the artist tackles this subject brings together the familiarity of classic pop and the left-of-centre writing style of something a little more singer-songwriter-like. The track has a notably nostalgic vibe, for sure, it’s spacious and generally quite mellow, but the lyrics and the ideas presented add something distinctly fresh and relevant to today’s society.
Proceed With Caution has a really gentle set-up, musically speaking. This subtle, retro soundscape emerges, upon which Mercury’s vocals float with a fitting smoothness. You get an added sense of connection to the song, an added level of apparent passion, when you watch the accompanying video along with the single. The difficulty of the situation shows in every line and in every expression that joins it. The two fit together well.
From a songwriting perspective, this release paves the way towards its hook with space and light rhythm, making that chorus section shine as the instrumentation multiplies and the quickly familiar leading line starts to weave its way into your mind. The middle-8 during the latter moments also adds a welcomed break from the structure and leads you rhythmically and confidently into a final outburst of the now recognisable. The lyrics are easily memorable and the song’s title in itself presents an unusual concept that’s likely to appeal. This meeting of classic pop and RnB is not often utilized in modern music – Joan Mercury undoubtedly has her sound and her approach to creativity, and it works strongly in her favour right now.