The piano is the most versatile and appreciated instrument in music. It works on any genre and most songs. But when pop music centers on a pianist, she needs a muscle for melody in order to stand out. Helena Dukic has that muscle and she flexes it in her track, “Don’t Know How To Hate You.”
The structure of this song is well-written, pure, and the flow is steady. Like most songs written in the minor key, “Don’t Know How to Hate You” is dark and eerie. More than anything, the vocal melody for the chorus is very memorable. It’s a contagious lead that sticks with you hours later. There’s no better way say it than with the old adage: It hits all the right notes. Literally.
There is room for improvement on very specific characteristics. The song on paper is really good, but some of the recording execution doesn’t work as well as I’d like it to. The string arrangements at the beginning sound a little fake. The biggest giveaway is at :08, when the transitioning notes have that slight intersection and one string is being played at a different timbre than the other. The drumbeat is also mechanical and needs some life. But even beyond the minor improvements to computer production, the song’s effect could be maximized through some additional instrumentation. I’d like to see some more musical enigma to really capitalize that eerie feel. Helena has the right idea with the creepy choir during the chorus. Perhaps another instrument’s light, swelling layer could give the chorus some additional color. The piano and vocals could feature a little bit of reverb. The violins at the end could be substituted with a deeper sounding stringed instrument, such as a cello. What I really want to see is the production compliment how well the song is written.
All of the songs on Helena’s Soundcloud page are catchy and intelligently composed. She really shines through with chord progressions and vivid vocal melodies. It wasn’t surprising to find out she has a background in classical piano and an admiration for Rufus Wainwright. Some studio assistance could help the quality of Helena’s recordings, but she needs absolutely no help when it comes to writing a song.