At the tender age of nineteen Grace Freeman has already accomplished a lot. Apparently in 2012 (which would make her fourteen) she opened for Magnetic Fields. From there on out she opened for artists like Macy Gray, Suzanne Vega and more. She recently released Shadow.
Sometimes musicians look a lot like the music they make. I was looking at pictures of her on her social media before pressing play and already assumed I was going to be listening to pretty, intimate music. Truth be told the word that came to mind was dainty. That’s exactly what I got. This is a good thing. Her image fits the music and the cherry on top is the music is very good.
The album sounds exceptional in terms of production. Her vocals are clear and very nuanced. The other instrumentation sounded top notch as well. The songs are diverse and dynamic. Some are full on productions while others were sparse. I preferred the tracks that were more experimental and deviated from a standard pop format which I thought were most of them
The album opens with “Oliver” which is a clear highlight. There is a bit of a Joanna Newsom vibe at times. The song is dipped in folk and I enjoyed the swelling accordion and guitar picking. Melancholy sounds good on her. Great opener.
“Shadow” was a little more standard in comparison. It felt like a traditional pop ballad and more FM radio friendly. ”Trying to say Goodbye” definitely had that cute, dainty vibe in the beginning. It’s fun and upbeat but not something a grown man like myself would be blasting out of his car. Ok maybe I would if no one was around. The middle section does have a little haunting breakdown revolving around vocal harmonies that I wasn't expecting but enjoyed.
“Blue Eyed Boy” is stripped back to strings and vocals. She sounds great. Two thumbs up. “Dreams’ has a similar feel with some added percussion while “Autumn” has a subdued swing that sounds fantastic. “God Forbid” is carefree and a bit silly. I felt like it could be a theater production. She closes with “Gemini” which has some engaging percussion aspects and an ending that didn't feel over the top.
I’m really impressed by Freeman. I have to think her best work is still probably ahead considering she is nineteen. Either way Shadow is a great album for a number of reasons. There was obviously so much work that was put into the album and there is a lot of variety without it going into territory that would make it sound like a different artist. Take a listen.
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