In her debut EP Sad Soul, Sara Donnellan explores in her own alternative pop the emotional toil and wreckage left behind by a turbulent relationship. The five-track album relies mostly on a backbone of piano riffs with some use of guitar, violin and drums, lending it a melancholy sound fit for a nasty break-up.
The tracks of the five-song record introduces the bitter taste left between her and her lost love. “I Know” invokes a bleak outlook and sets you up for what’s to come in this moody tale. Lyrics like “I don’t want to say a thing today. I know that nothing nice will come out of my mouth and I know nothing nice from yours” makes you feel as if it’s the beginning of the end of a long and tumultuous relationship. Accompanied by a gloomy sounding piano melody and Donnellan’s alluring voice, the song paints a conflicted and dismal picture of her emotional state.
The album moves ahead with piano and her incredible voice at the helm of tracks titled “Hooks”, “Missouri” and “Shadows You Throw,” all built around the central themes of massive heartbreak and ‘what could have been’ between her and her former partner. She experiments with violin in “Missouri” and some minor voice modification and percussion in “Hooks” and “Shadows You Throw.”
The real gem of this album is her song titled “Sad Soul.” In this somewhat darkly uplifting track she is clear and grateful for the sadness, stating “Thank God for my sad, sad soul.” She goes on to explain the world owes her nothing, and that she wants to sing or act on subjects other than her broken heart, alluding to some sort of redemption to her listeners and perhaps the start of her emotional comeback.
The album summons feelings of sadness and a bit of depression, but the song “Sad Soul” makes up for it. Her expression of deep heartache and sorrow through thoughtful lyrics appeal to a lot of us listeners who’ve been unfortunate enough to have their heart put through a meat grinder. Think Taylor Swift’s lyrics with Norah Jones’ voice and piano and you’ve got the right idea.
Her angry and brutally honest words with her pure, siren-like voice creates an attractive and distinctive sound all her own. She also knows what the hell she’s doing with a piano and can not only rope you in with a catchy riff but can layer various other voices, sounds and instruments on top of it. All in all, Donnellan creates a clear picture in her music with these pieces. You can expect more from this young and talented Saratoga Springs, NY native in the future. All we can hope is her next colorful composition comes with a happy story instead of a sad one.
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