I will admit I was a bit wary when I heard that Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld was signed to Republic Records. I pride myself on trying not to be a music snob, which means I either reserve no judgment on someone’s music or I give them a fair chance (i.e. I listen to their music before deciding whether or not they’re a good artist). In my life I’ve seen people cast off really good artists just because of the perception they had of them. For instance, I’ve had friends who vowed to hate Adele because she was “mainstream.” Really? You’re going to not even listen to her music because a mass group of people like her? At least listen to her albums before you judge. I mean, I don’t think I’ve met someone who listened to an Adele album and didn’t like it.
My point, I wasn’t intending on listening to HAIZ, Steinfeld’s debut EP. I wasn’t going to judge Steinfeld’s musical ability, I was going to abstain from having any opinion. But, as luck would have it, I got a free copy yesterday from work and had nothing to listen to on the way home, so I figured to give her a shot. Since then, I listened to the four song EP probably ten times, most of them were actually for fun.
My overall critique of the EP is that it’s not bad. It’s an intriguing start to what might be a decent debut album, but I’m not entirely sure we get a frame of reference of who Steinfeld is as an artist from these few limited songs. Specifically, the EP is comprised of songs all very similar in tempo and tone: they’re all upbeat dance pop songs. There really isn’t a shining moment where we get a sense that Steinfeld is singing her truths or letting us into her musical world. Granted she has a nice voice, but it’s kind of hidden with the loud synths and reverb.
Her lead single featured on the EP, “Love Myself,” has a nice beat to dance/exercise to, but it’s rather an awkward song. At first when you listen to it and don’t think too hard about it, it sounds like an empowering message of loving oneself in regards to self-esteem and confidence. But if you actually take a moment and really listen to the words she sings, it just makes you cringe. I mean, out of all the topics you could choose to write about, why in the world would you choose something as awkward as that. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, google it because you’ll find some pretty clear articles that explain what she’s singing about.
Moreover, I think her song “Rock Bottom” has a great potential to be her next single. It has a powerful chorus that will unfortunately get stuck in your head (you’ve been warned), but it does feel radio friendly to me. Check it out below:
If there was one Pitch Perfect alum who would leave the movies and make an album, I was hoping it would be Rebel Wilson. I’m putting it out there: she should make a rap album entitled “Rebellion.” Regardless, HAIZ is not the worst thing I’ve listened to this year, and I actually ended up buying it because upbeat dance/pop songs like these are good to bike to.