Flip Phone Records
Release Date: October 2nd 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Can’t Hold On Forever
- When You Wake Up
- Can’t Help Myself
- Honest With You
- Something To Believe In
Is a song enjoyable or meaningful or inspiring or poignant or confronting or honest… because of the reputation of the artists, the songwriters or some combination of the two? Or does the song have a life of its own separate from and beyond the original artist- regardless of aforementioned artist being a veteran or a newbie in the industry? The other day I was perusing Youtube for videos to watch (simple because I was bored!), and because I had previously blogged about Sabrina Carpenter, Julia Michaels and Dua Lipa recently, and I has used the Youtube on my own computer to watch their music videos; this particular day I stumbled across music from up and coming artist Laura Marano. And though I didn’t know her nor her music style, but had heard of her sister Vanessa from Switched At Birth; I decided to check out Laura’s music. And though her music is decidedly pop, the EP YOU from October last year was hopeful, captivating and powerful… so much so that here I am now, reviewing this EP from an artist whom I had no idea existed a couple of weeks ago!
Subject matter-wise, the lyrical content and themes from YOU cover a whole wide smorgasbord and spectrum of issues. Album opener and title track is a 1 minute spoken word piano piece, whereby Laura speaks about an unnamed person (perhaps each and every one of us!), and speaking words of affirmation and encouragement over us. Sort of like something of a prophecy; we are also then encouraged to look deeper within ourselves, as Laura poses the question at the end of ‘who are you?’. I mean, it’s good and everything people have good things to say about us, and if others believe we are worthy of love and acceptance… but if we ourselves don’t believe it, how can we ever get far in life? Laura provides the catalyst for potential change in this song- as she carries on with pressing into relevant and relatable topics in the rest of the track list.
“Can’t Hold On Forever” is a slower-tempo breezy and summery keys led melody, whereby Laura outlines the tension she feels in not knowing whether she should take it to the next level (physically) with her lover, or take it slow, as ‘…we can go hard, far if you want to, skin kissed on your tattoos, touch this moment with you, we can’t hold on forever…’. As we remember that relationships are forever altered when sex comes into play, this song is a warning to us- as the question is posed of whether we show restraint or whether give into instant gratification and feelings which may not last. I know, I know, it’s a bleak way to look at relationships… but at least this song creates discussion, and that’s all you can ask for in a song. “When You Wake Up”, a mid tempo pop tune, again speaks about turmoil in emotions, as Laura mentions an ex, and relays that ‘…you keep calling three in the morning, don’t know why I’m picking up anyway, you’re just talking, talk to my body, only time you listen what I gotta say…’, reminding us all that ex’s need to be let go of completely, despite you insistence to change them into something they’re not; while “Can’t Help Myself” vividly details the ins and outs of a toxic physical relationship, as we are reminded that these ‘relationships’ are bad for our soul and our entire being!
“Honest With You”, a vulnerable, honest and personal track, speaks about sincerity and the concept of letting everyone around us see the ‘real’ us, while also relaying that she longs to be truly honest with anyone who will listen- friends, family, or a significant other. One of the most personal songs on the project, “Honest With You” peels back the layers of authenticity, and reminds us that in order for us to be honest, others need to let us in as well. It’s a two way street, and this track reminds us of this fact. “Something To Believe In”, a quasi-spiritual and inspirational melody led by keys, is the penultimate track, and is a must listen especially when you feel down. With Laura passionately and emotionally crying out that friends and family around her have lifted her up and have helped her overcome her demons when she needed help the most, as ‘…when my hope ran low and my heart beat slow, nothing left, you gave me something to believe, when our stars burnt out and our skies came down, nothing left, you gave me something to believe in…’; we are presented with the question of that is that something that was given to us for us to believe in. Is it Jesus or our family or our friends or something else? Food for thought, as we digest this meaty and weighty tune; while the romantic ballad “Run” ends the EP, with Laura fervently proclaiming that she will lover her significant other until the end of time, asking them to ‘…give me forever and I’ll give you more…’, a track that will undoubtedly be played at weddings in the near or far future.
Laura Marano’s music isn’t that flash- it’s musically quite quiet and reflective and moody. It’s still pop though, and this EP sets out to prove to us that you don’t necessarily have to be a big name for your music to resonate. And with YOU speaking about self-worth and identity quite a bit, we are encouraged to look inwards as well, and think about our own dreams and inspirations. And though Laura’s music may not ever be popular as heavyweights like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift, Halsey, Camilla Cabello, Little Mix and Zara Larsson (to name a few); YOU is a diamond in the rough, a gem of a needle in a needle of haystacks. A name that hopefully will be on everyone’s lips in the coming years. So let’s jump on the bandwagon now, don’t you think? Well done Laura, I can’t wait to hear what’s next for you in 2021!
3 songs to listen to: You, Honest With You, Something To Believe In
RIYL: Dove Cameron, Tori Kelly, Demi Lovato, Sabrina Carpenter, Sofia Carson, Jordin Sparks, Fifth Harmony