On new single “Manipulator,” Wingtip explores the conflicts and ironies that come with trying too hard to make a good impression. "This song was written during a weird period of my life where I lost track of the point of dating and romance but committed to its performance, of being a good partner, a good date,” the rising artist explains. “It’s about how depressing it is to know how someone sees you and instead of rejecting that, catering to it.” With this idea at the center of the track, Wingtip chose the song title without using the word once in the track. Instead, it is a nod to the subliminal messaging relating to the situation that inspired the music. As a manipulator, he checks the list of green flags in an all-too-knowing fashion, his consciousness of his actions dampening their effect. “I’ll be whoever you want me to be / And I’ll say all of your favorite things,” he sings on the chorus, illustrating my point by continuing, “But you’ll never know who I am.” Wingtip presents as a manipulator but through good intentions, a paradox that creates a mistrust that’s hard to dissemble. No matter how many of your friends' names he remembers, or gifts he gets you for your birthday, it is all behind a veil he won’t allow himself to dispose of.
A firework with a long fuse, “Manipulator” doesn’t explode until guitars reveal themselves and drums become violent in the song’s final stretch. The buildup isn’t without intrigue; in the second verse, you can easily imagine the visual of Wingtip sitting across from you on a first date, wondering if he’s said enough to keep you from getting up. Though clarity doesn’t come to him in the nearly 4 minutes of the track, “Manipulator” is the hard look in the mirror needed for growth, personally and (in Wingtip’s case) artistically. While he may be the date you regret days later, you’ll never feel bad about giving Wingtip a chance in your headphones.