Currently residing in Toronto, Canada Bethea is a singer/songwriter who released her debut album entitled The Battle. After spending some time in East Africa she ended up in Australia where she ended up finding a church which shaped a different trajectory for her life. She has stated that this album is a “thank you” to god for helping her escape from the bad place she was in. The Battle is a positive, optimistic album that is full of religious overtones but doesn’t feel overly preachy.
Bethea not only recorded the whole album but produced it as well. The fact that only three years ago she never wrote a song is impressive but the fact her album sounds as well produced as it does is incredible. It’s an intricate album full of inventive electronic production that is quite competitive with professional studios when its comes to the recording quality.
On top of that the album is quite diverse and offers a vast array of tones and textures. There is a good ebb and flow between upbeat songs and more melancholy ones. She starts things off with “By My Side” which contains a heavy beat and cascading, arpeggiated synths. It becomes obvious after about a minute in that the star of the show are the vocals. Bethea has a very aesthetically pleasing voice and I can’t imagine her having many haters.
Next up is “The Battle” which contains heavy, huge drums and sounds like the most thematic of the songs as if it could be in a play. “The Presence” is extremely catchy, borderline irresistible at points. The vocal melody will get stuck in your head.
“The Only Words” is a certifiable highlight with smooth, chill production and a soulful vocal performance. I just loved the vibe on this song and it went really well with her vocal style. She sings “Oh man of sorrows, oh man of sorrows You've taken my pain, you've taken my shame”
The other song that stuck out to me was “Has My Heart” which was a minimal song that revolves around low synth notes and her vocals. It’s an emotionally resonant song which certainly was a good way to close.
The Battle is a heartfelt album that showcases a very talented artist. Some people may be turned off by the religious overtones but if you can handle the likes of Sufjan Stevens The Battle shouldn't be a problem.
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