When an artist releases an eponymous album, it can be for a variety of reasons.
For many newcomers, this is a way of saying, âHey, it’s me. I’m here. Know my name. It can also be a way for established artists to show their newfound artistic freedom or to open up to feelings that burn within them.
When Laura Stevenson released her latest album, “Laura Stevenson”, in August, she already had a reputation for honesty, no matter how personal. “Laura Stevenson” is much more distant and preserved than any of her other previous works.
But she is still able to bring her strings to universal sounds, her piano, her guitar and most importantly: her voice.
Stevenson is a New Yorker through and through. His label, Don Giovanni Records is based in New Jersey. Her first record was released in 2008. She had subsequent releases in 2011, 2013, 2015, 2019 and her most recent in 2021.
I first found her with her 2015 record, “Cocksure”. It was a little heavier at the time. Songs like “Jellyfish” and “Happier, Etc. Were much more relevant than “Laura Stevenson”. With words like, “The same thing I wish for every New Year.” Because I am lazy and a loser. They don’t come true and I blame everyone except myself. You can’t help but feel exactly what she is singing.
I can always appreciate the growth of an artist. Stevenson’s vagueness on his eponymous record contributes to bringing a mysticism to his music.
One of the best examples is the seventh track from the album “Mary”. It only presents Stevenson and his piano. Although her beauty may be underestimated, with words such as, “and all my earthly things to your feet, I bring pettily.” After the argument, after having crossed patches of ice at full speed, âillustrates the coiled narration of the songwriter. Stevenson doesn’t say exactly what she means. Which is new to her.
But why hide after being outspoken for so long? It has to do with the theme of the trauma of the album. Stevenson said in an interview with Spin.com that a loved one “was in desperate need of his help in dealing with a sudden traumatic experience, the details of which Steveson prefers to keep private … It was the months of grief, anger and uncertainty that served as the inspiration for his new album “, Dan Ozzi from Spin.com wrote.
Throughout the album, you hear the theme become relevant. In the album’s opening, âState,â Stevenson tackles the emotional anger directly with the chorus crashing down with hard drums and guitars, reminiscent of the old Stevenson.
âI am getting furious. A shining example of pure anger. Pure and real and sticky and touching and sweet âis what you hear as the song fades away. This theme continues on songs like “Sky Blue, Bad News” which I believe is about the process of forgiveness after trauma.
“Don’t Think About Me” can be seen to cover up depression with words like, “Please don’t think of me and it seems like now.” For a minute, I look at the scenery in detail just to say it didn’t matter whether we were asleep or awake.
If you are the person who enjoys listening to female luminaries from the 70s such as Joni Mitchell, you are going to love this touching and uplifting album.
“Laura Stevenson” is an obscure and fascinating work of art. His music imbues the listener with a childish wonder while offering mature and evolved lyrics that it will take several listenings to fully understand.
Jack R. Jordan is a reporter for the Moultrie Observer.