Although Lennon is no stranger to the music industry (both of her parents are singers and her and sister Maisy were cast members on the hit TV show Nashville as a singing duo). Lennon has successfully showed off her artistry since starting her solo music journey with a gorgeous EP titled Love, Me back in 2018. In a recent interview, Lennon said, “Putting out an album has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I wanted it to be something that embodied who I am. I wasn’t listening to any other opinions to morph it into anything.” Her debut album, Three. Two. One. is certainly a debut to be proud of.
This album is flooded with every type of relationship; family, friends, and lovers. Every emotion is explored through enchanting lyrics and melodies brushed with subtle strings and piano chords. Lennon’s voice is so pretty it hurts. She makes singing look easy. Opening track, “Much Too Much” shines light on a deep relationship and the uncertainty that lies beneath the surface. Stella explains it saying, “So this is that fear-based concept: of being scared of letting go of something because you think ‘What if later on I’m like, it was perfect, and now it’s not?'” Pretty mature for a 20-year-old, huh?
Every song is just as beautiful as the next. “Games”, “Fear of Being Alone”, and “Jealous” have radio-ready potential featuring beautifully crafted choruses and gentle pop vocals. “Bend Over Backwards” has a heavier beat straying from Lennon’s usual subdued production. She sings about standing your ground and not succumbing to outside pressures; another mature topic beyond her years. “Since I Was A Kid”, “Older Than I Am” and “Weakness” are some of the most personal tracks off the album revolving around Lennon’s upbringing and keeping her family close. Her sister Maisy is featured on “Weakness” as they sing about the close bond they have with eachother and how its developed over the years. Closing the album is “Goodnight”; a song I’ve been listening to on YouTube for a year waiting for her to release it on an album. She quietly sings with purpose, “when I close my eyes, please don’t say goodbye, just say goodnight.” The lyrics and melody make this lullaby feel hopeful and open-ended.
Some artists would take 10 years to compose an album this unblemished. Lennon Stella has proven her artistry is hers and no one else’s through an album that is 100% her.
As Williams’ solo debut album inches closer and closer, the talented singer/songwriter has continued to release more songs for fans to digest. Her latest, titled “Why We Ever” might be my favorite so far.
This melancholy track is a diary entry that feels all too relatable. Although the underlying bass groove of the track is a bit retro and cute, the lyrics prove another all-bearing emotional story. Hayley describes a relationship at its end, but why? Sometimes we don’t really know; “And now I, can’t seem to remember why we ever felt we had to say goodbye.” Apologies crawl into the closing piano-led outro as Hayley anxiously sings, “I just wanna talk about it, sorry for freaking out,” over and over. These words feel significant in so many ways, like they could somehow solve everything but instead, just saying them out loud is a step towards inner freedom. I keep going back to the closing piano melody and find it so beautiful. It flows just slow enough to compliment the lyrics with upper and lower notes to mimic the heartfelt feelings described in the track. It’s pure magic.
As we’ve heard in previously released singles, self-identity is a huge theme in this new chapter of Hayley’s life. Is she happy, mad, sad, hurt, peaceful? It doesn’t matter. Her main goal is honest expression – nothing is off limits on this album.
Sivan’s latest music is his first solo single since his transformative album, Bloom back in 2018. “Take Yourself Home” feels new and fresh – still pop but an evolved pop with an underlying dance element.
Troye announced the emotional release of “Home” on his Instagram saying, “this was a really scary moment for me – being this honest w myself about my happiness and my life and the way all the pieces fit together, or don’t 🥴 just like a moment of dude..what r u doing. this isn’t working anymore. go home. go be w ur family.dance. write music. be w ur friends who have known u since u were 2. reevaluate. hope you like it and it brings you some of the joy and relief it brought me during these crazy times.”
“Take Yourself Home” has strong themes of escape and clarity. Troye sings deeply on the verses, “Talk to me / There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with some honesty / And how it got this dark is just beyond to me / If anyone can hear me, switch the lights.” The lyrics feel like a page ripped straight out of a diary – something Sivan does so beautifully. After describing he’s tired of the city, he sings, “Sad in the summer / City needs a mother” which feels so significant and eye-opening; the thought of a city needing a mother figure. The lyrics do not disappoint. “Home” has a steady melancholy feel to it while the outro switches gears to a deep-house beat for the remaining 39 seconds. I hope more of this sound is incorporated into Sivan’s future music releases or remixes.
Saturated in 70’s style synths, Dua Lipa is finally growing into her artistry. Future Nostalgia is her long-awaited sophomore album – a hurdle most artists buckle at the chance to master. Through a haze of masterly produced tracks, Dua proves she’s here to entertain. In an interview with British Vogue, the singer described the album as a whole saying, “It kind of feels like a dancercise class…I’m not trying to take myself too seriously but as a record it does feel more mature.”
Lead single “Don’t Start Now” gave fans a glimpse into the futuristic yet retro sound behind this album. Disco pop and light house intertwine into their own recipe as we listen to a pop singer finally come into her own. “Pretty Please” has a groovy baseline meant for hip swaying while “Break My Heart” is an eclectic disco pop anthem worthy of your widest flare pants. Dua keeps her simple pop-centric lyrics as we hear on the bouncy track “Hallucinate”; “I hallucinate when you call my name / Got stars in my eyes / and they don’t fade when you come my way.”
Standout track “Good In Bed” shows off some cheeky production skills while Dua’s voice dances up and down the scale. The album as a whole pulls at the usual themes of love, relationships, and sex alongside a casual and fun backdrop. Future Nostalgia has definitely proven Dua’s staying power in an industry full of bubble gum pop queens.