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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 25, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Struggle inspires heartfelt songs

"My Wild West"

Lissie

Folk-rock singer and songwriter Lissie has returned with her album “My Wild West,” an introspective collection released Feb. 12 that tells a story of disappointment and lost dreams. Although somber at times, Lissie’s tracks are more enjoyable to listen to than they may seem.

Lissie’s 12 tracks range from softer guitar strumming songs to full ballads with booming vocals. The artist sings about her experiences trying to make it in the business, many of which were unpleasant or full of regret, but Lissie explores the lessons she has learned with her lyrics and style choices.

As a whole, “My Wild West” experiments with genre, hopping from rock to pop to country with occasional folk influences from her musical roots. On her title track, “Wild West,” Lissie almost sounds like a Lady Gaga–Sia hybrid in both vocals and style. The genre switch grabs the listener, although fans may feel just as lost as Lissie sounds on this album. Highlights include “Together or Apart,” a slower song showing off Lissie’s vocal range that almost sounds country at times.

Her lyrics reflect on her experiences in her own “Wild West.” Although she may not be defeated, she is exhausted by her attempts to make it big in the music industry. However, like those of many struggling artists, the bad times make for some of the most heartfelt and moving songs. Lissie’s music definitely benefits from her heartbreak in the West. Her raw emotions make this Lissie vulnerable and her album enrapturing. “Hollywood,” a smooth ballad, shows a more refined Lissie as she reflects on her wild and disappointing experience with California, a place that both fed and stole her dreams.

This theme runs through all of her songs, which is a complete about-face from the confident and defiant artist listeners are used to with Lissie. “My Wild West” documents Lissie’s recent triumphs and tragedies with her music career, and these struggles, although somewhat tiresome, produced some really inspired music.