The Only Girl In The Room is a sweet little 5-song EP collection, just released in April of this year. The sound is a little Nina Gordon at the beginning – the piano chords are à la Sara Bareilles but with slightly more edge, and with some really great vocal harmonies. This style actually reminds me of another emerging artist that ETTG reviewed a few months ago (Shivon Coelho) so if you liked Shivon’s album you’d really enjoy the opening song, which is also the title track. The chorus gets a little repetitive and almost too girlie at times – but overall this song features an appealingly upbeat and poppy style, with slightly downer yet darkly flirty lyrics, like “I’m always her, the only girl in the room…”
Musically speaking, the next track reminds me of “Jacob Marley’s Chains” by Aimee Mann – but the vocals get a little brighter after the initial opening notes. A comment from Heidi’s promo content mentioned that she spent some time as a session musician, and even collaborated with Juliana Hatfield – this was quite interesting to me, because Juliana was another one of the artists that first came to mind when I was previewing this album. The cute-yet-serious-girl rocker songstress style (as presented by J.H.) is not always pulled off by others so successfully, and to such good effect. In this case, I think Heidi does an excellent job.
I found it personally coincidental to listen to a song called “One of Us Should Go” (Track #3) after recently watching the 2000 film “High Fidelity” – I realized this song would apply well to the lead characters of that movie as they explore the varied feelings of love and life, with lyrics from Heidi like “I’m sleepwalking naked / unwilling tattoo…” or especially the mundane daily detail of this piece: “The pillow’s a portal / the blanket’s a wall.” I would describe this track as full of great folksy guitar yet with modern, thoughtful lyrics.
Track #4 called “Orchids” is simply beautiful, and I really liked this one – it is very slow (not usually my preferred style) but done so well and so thoughtfully that it is thoroughly enjoyable.
The last song, a track called “Where will They Bury Me” is a bit of a departure from the rest of the album; it sounds like an Irish ballad at the end of an otherwise typical singer-songwriter style collection of tunes. It has a traditional and folky chord progression, with a ringing and sentimental chorus “where or where will they bury me / where will my body go / where or where will they bury me / it’s lonesome not to know”. Pleasant and sentimental, but in this case it is an unusual and interesting choice of song as an album closer.
Another comment from the promotional details for Heidi says “her sound is classic, but her words are fresh” – and I couldn’t agree more. She is definitely an artist who makes me want to look for the liner notes or Google the lyrics as I took in each of the songs – what are you talking about, exactly? I was honestly surprised that this was a debut release for Heidi, because it the resulting product is so mature, and so intentional. This is not experimental or fluffy stuff- but a well-considered contribution to the world of good songs out there.