Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Album & EP Review: Flipside & Everything


Titles:  Flipside (Amazon, iTunes); Everything (iTunes)
Artist:  Abby Holden (Official, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud)

Abby Holden is a singer/songwriter hailing from New Zealand by way of London, England.  Her 2011 full-length debut Flipside showcases her talents as a singer and broad influences as a pop artist.  The record opens with the catchy acoustic guitar riff of “Wrong Tonight” before opening up into a fun, dancey number.  Next is the somber love song “I’ll Be With You Now,” a song destined to be the soundtrack of many a romantic slow-dance.  “Undone” has an almost Spanish vibe to it, while the title track is a straight up dance number.  “Push the Playback” starts with a fun, indie pop guitar riff and breaks into a fantastic chorus; this is one of the record’s best moments.  It is followed by the record’s other standout moment “Let Go” an infectious pop song that conjures images of dancing in meadows and fields of flowers.  “Believe in Me” is sweet and desperate ballad followed by the darker, mid-tempo pop of “Fly Away.”  “I Wanna Know” is a straight up pop song with a bit of Spanish flair in the guitar.  “Step Back” is the kind of song that has an anthem of a chorus and is something that I could easily see in a variety of movies or television shows.  The record closes out with “I’ll Be Fine” a simple song driven by acoustic guitar.  In a bit of a contrast, but not really a striking one, Holden’s latest single “Everything” is unabashedly pop, and by pop I mean Top 40 pop.  This song is definitely something that sounds like it could get major airplay on pop radio.  This song certainly sounds like her attempt at mainstream success. 

What Abby Holden really has going for her is her voice.  This girl can sing and honestly she’s the kind of singer that one could easily see killing it on shows like The Voice and America Idol.  There is a progression in the music from Flipside to Everything that does sound like an attempt to draw in a bigger audience, but it doesn’t sound forced or contrite.  Make no mistake about it, Abby Holden is a pop singer, whether people want to label it indie pop or not, she writes very good pop songs and sings them beautifully.  Sometimes I think people like to throw around labels like indie pop to either sound cool or for more street cred., when in reality the artist is simply playing pop music.  That is the case here.  Abby Holden is a pop artist, and a very good one at that.  Given the right circumstances and push, she could easily be a huge star.  Probably the only thing holding her back from that echelon of Top 40 success is that she actually writes really good and honest songs.  Mainstream music, the kind that gets played on the radio at least, seems to have little room for artists of this type in-between all of the corporate drivel that they normally shove down peoples throats and that is a shame.  Hopefully Abby Holden will break through that glass ceiling.   

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