Listen. No, I’m serious. Listen very carefully.
We here at ETTG wake up most days knowing that at some point in our day we are going to listen to a piece of music, an artist, a song, heck… a simple beat that we will inevitably enjoy! We will sometimes form those enjoyable tunes into playlists, artist interviews, live show reviews, or album reviews.
This may be the norm for us. It’s to be expected, yes? Correct. Not boring… just what it truly means to be lovers of indie music and spotlighting some of the best.
(What am I trying to say? Stay with me. I have a point. I swear.)
As simple a concept as it all is, I think in all of the glory and beauty of what we do, a true genuine gift for me is finding an artist so profoundly wonderful, that all I want to do is write about it. Today… it’s her.
Her EP “Easier Love” is four of the most profound, sad, and diverting songs that I have had the pleasure of hearing in a very long time. What she’s managed to do is break down any genre barriers that would dare place her in any kind of box and she’s, in turn, given us a master class in songwriting.
The first song, “Road Thoughts” is a haunting and gripping tale of imperfect timing and the juxtaposition between loneliness and independence. Lyrically, it’s raw and honest (a theme throughout the album, really). Vocally, her grittiness is so equally yoked with strength and depth that she has the power to emote without the need to belt. With this song, in particular, the use of BGV’s is such a beautifully added nuance, they make it sound almost ethereal. Musically, the muted symphonic keys and percussion create a score that when teamed with her voice is so exposed and tender that it makes you feel sad and yet still filled with hope.
“Easier Love” is the title track of the EP and the most upbeat of the four. I hate to use the word “upbeat” per se, as it’s more of a driving beat than the others. Again, her natural raspy and unique voice shines. Lyrically, it’s a realistic take on what it means to love, lose that love, face the demons left behind, and then watch that person move on without you. It’s a story about letting go of what just couldn’t be, looking to a better future. It’s so fantastically written and relatable. The electric guitar strums and use of the full drum kit also add positivity and movement to what could have been a typically sad song.
The third song is as raw as the title portrays, “Sorry I Ever Fucked You.” Listen; in some shape or form, we all have a relationship (or lack of one) that we regret. We look back and think, “What was I thinking?” All Gabrielle has done is vocalized it, forming it into an almost heartwarming tune. A grungier guitar and vocal performance coincide with of the grunginess and ugliness of a terrible relationship. The honesty of her lyrics is something that I don’t want to understate. The final stanza of this song turns the story on herself, looking introspectively at her own decisions, and it creates something very poignant. “I’ve never been with a man in the state that I’m from. What does that have to say about how I fall in love. This is beginning to feel like it’s more than coincidence, more than bad luck. Like a me problem, well fuck…” Being sorry only lasts so long, when hindsight is only 50/50.
The fourth and final song, “Mississippi” brings soul, rock, blues, and heart. So much heart! Life on the road as a musician is both fulfilling artistically, yet challenging and arduous. Keeping up with things is hard, and relationships are at the top of that hit list. Musically this song builds throughout, adding to the emotion of both the vocals and lyrics on the chorus. As the song crescendos, the feeling coincides.
I know I sound repetitive, but I honestly cannot think of the last time I was so taken with lyrics like I have with Gabrielle Marlena’s writing. And I definitely cannot remember a recent time when I didn’t have to overlook lackluster musical performances or vocals for the sake of a good lyric. It’s refreshing and awakening to get the whole package, all in equal value, crafted together with proficiency and satisfaction. Do yourself a favor and just listen.