Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Indie Music: Lucinda Belle "Think Big Like Me"

by Germar Derron
For years, I believed that THIS died with Amy in 2011. Since that time, I've mourned her life, and that sound. I was wrong. That sound, or feeling, didn't die. I can only compare Think Big Like Me to Amy Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. And please, understand the gravity of that statement: those albums rank third and fourth on my all-time list. Here, all of the adjectives are appropriate--retro, unparalleled, polished, pristine . . . perfect.

"Think" tells a familiar story, but in a better form, and for at least one distinct reason: it's guilt-free listening. Much of the best music comes from the darkest places. You hear the artist's pain. Subsequently, you feel immense guilt while deriving so must joy from an individual's most severe sorrow. "Think" may capture Lucinda Belle's heartache and sorrow, but it's comfortably relatable. The audience is allowed to commiserate, with a smile, and without heeding a call to action. 

Maybe a better current musical comp is Meghan Trainor, but with grit, nuance, and a "classically"-based musicianship that's more tightly tethered to the many genres from which Belle borrows.

Typically, here, in most reviews, I spend time critiquing the mix, the arrangement, the vocal treatment, etc. But I only know one way to spell p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n. If this typifies today's independent music, what are the majors doing? 

The project is perfectly paced, with songs perfectly placed. Like all of the best albums, all of the pieces fit snugly and easily. It tells a story--with a beginning, middle, and end--without the contrivance of actually telling a story.

I won't mention all of her many awards, honors, or groundbreaking performance, and recording, techniques. 

This is the best album of 2019 and, no, it doesn't matter that it's only July. If I still did star ratings, Think Big Like Me would receive 7 out of 5. But I don't do that anymore. 


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