ALBUM REVIEW: Katy J Pearson - Return
thank god for boo bops
My girlfriend makes me playlists sometimes. She calls them boo bops. The first time I heard Katy J Pearson’s 'Tonight' was on the creatively named boo bops v. 3. It was perfect: Pearson’s soft, linting tones immediately won me over. It was like nothing else on the mish-mashed playlist she’d made. It felt new, raw.
Now, Pearson has gone beyond herself with her debut solo album Return, out now. This record symbolizes Pearson’s literal 'return' to music, and after pressures from a major label made a previous collaborative project with her brother fall apart, Return is here as a clear indication of the talent and creativity that this artist so clearly possesses. 'Tonight' opens, fittingly, while Pearson’s other previously released singles 'Take Back The Radio', 'Fix Me Up', 'Something Real' and 'Hey You' appear too, but with them come some beautiful surprises.
This is what makes the album flow so well, shifting from lovesick country to memorably poppy riffs. 'Beautiful Soul' and 'Return', for instance, really capitalise on Pearson’s vocals, harnessing her voice for all of its power. 'Beautiful Soul' makes you want to move just like 'Tonight' does: with frenetic energy. 'Return', which comes right after, stops you in your tracks. It’s the song that makes you think and feel all the emotion you were throwing into dance. And just like that, Pearson masterfully welcomes you back, yet she makes it clear that she’s different, clearer; "you can see me much better than before."
For Return, Pearson worked with producer Ali Chant, known for his work with Perfume Genius and Aldous Harding. Together, they've produced an album that is both fresh and intimately personal. The West Country cowgirl vibe that drew me in with 'Tonight' remains strongly interwoven through the melodies and lyricism of Pearson's design, yet what proves most appealing about Pearson’s music is just how organically it flows. There’s a certain 'oomf' of impetus firing throughout its tracks, and thanks to little strokes of genius like adding a barely audible recording of Pearson brushing her teeth to 'Fix Me Up', the album contains a satisfying array of exciting digressions and understated invention.
To me, Return is about fun. This is an enjoyable record and it seems that people had fun making it. That’s a feeling that’s translated easily through whatever speakers you listen to it through. So, please, set yourself free and have just as much fun listening.
- 7.8 -
'Return', 'Fix Me Up', 'Hey You'
Maria Orlando is a writer that traded Italy's mild weather for London's constant drizzle. Oh well. She can especially be found writing about anything even remotely queer.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and co-edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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