When I first heard Sara Bareilles was creating a show for Apple TV+, I knew it was going to be something special. “Little Voice” is a beautiful interpretation of the modern musician and artist; dreaming of a life that often feels impossible. The show follows a young singer/songwriter named Bess King (Brittany O’Grady) who is being pulled in many different directions. With a rocky home life and unknown career path, the audience is thrust into a day in the life of an overwhelmed woman.
The best moments in this show are the ones where Bess is singing alone at the piano. It feels intimate, raw, and emotional. Brittany O’Grady was meant to play this role and makes the audience understand the pain of being an unknown musician, as well as an abandoned daughter, and hardworking caretaker/sister.
As far as the music goes, it has Sara Bareilles written all over it. Catchy melodies held together by delicate piano chords and alto vocals are her specialty and Bess definitely follows suit. I see a young Sara Bareilles inside of Bess which I’m sure was intentional. The soundtrack to this show weaves in endlessly with the emotions felt in every character. In a recent interview with TV Insider, O’Grady described Bareilles’ role on the set of the show saying, “She gave me so much perspective of what it’s like to be a musician…because that’s what her whole world is” she went on to explain, “She’s so sharp, she’s so gifted musically. Her brain is like this crazy machinery, and then her talent comes from something beyond us, genuinely. I really think it’s like a God-given talent, I don’t know how to describe it.”
With the finale of Little Voice came a sense of closure, but also an opportunity for more. More storylines, more music, more love, and I hope Apple TV+ allows them another season to explore new opportunities.
It’s been two years since the beachy boys of LANY lulled us to sleep with their epic alt-pop melodies. The band is back with a new single that surely lives up to their vibey brand. “Good Guys” is as romantic as it is comforting.
Lead singer, Paul Klein announced the new single on his Instagram saying “pls don’t spend ur whole life trying to do the right things for the wrong ones.” “Good Guys” defines romantic gestures in a world that often feels romantic-less; “I just wanna be the one you call, anything you need, anything at all, all I wanna do is let you in.” Klein revisits his southern upbringing mentioning he’s a “southern gentlemen”; a theme I’m sure we’ll hear more of on the upcoming album titled mama’s boy. “Guys” features the usual subdued guitar riffs that we love from LANY. The song fits right in on a sunset drive or a night on the couch with a glass of wine. Near the end of the track, Klein’s soft layered vocals sing, “so I’m gonna play it cool, til I know you want me too” in a sweet innocent tone.
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.