album review: eight belles by amy seeley

so, amy seeley has recently begun offering her 2008 album eight belles up for free on her bandcamp site (free, friends. FREE!). and i totally think you ought to take advantage of this and download it asap. here are my eight reasons why:

1. amy’s gratuitous use of piano. as i’ve said before, a big reason why i dig her music so much is that she utilizes this instrument. for as many piano lessons seem to be given nowadays, the piano is oft ignored in modern music. such a shame, because it’s amazingly gorgeous to listen to.

2. amy’s lyrics. there is a time and place for inane lyrics. in fact, i was just discussing with the husband how i found the lyrics to bush’s red light to be so utterly ridiculous that they made me want to laugh out loud every time i listen to the song, but for some bizarre reason, i keep. coming. back. to listen to said song (don’t judge, friends. just don’t, i’m begging you). but amy seeley doesn’t treat her listeners like they’re mindless puppets who are only interested in songs for their trendy beats. she crafts music with meaning, intelligence. check out this snippet from how hard i try (my favorite song on the album):

over these ridges the bridges are burning
and i’ve nowhere to lay my head
where have all my comrades gone
to lay their bodies down
to rest

don’t you know
how hard i try

so much better than, “baby, relationships are hard work, oo-oo, yeah, baby,” don’t you think?

3. i love that the title, eight belles, is so representative of the songs found within. because the songs, while all easily tagged beautiful, each have a distinct personality that doesn’t immediately sound like the one before or after. a lot of albums have similar sounds; in fact, some albums are filled with songs that pretty much all sound the same, and that’s okay. sometimes that’s exactly what we music fans are looking for. but eight belles isn’t like that. each song, each belle, has a story to tell and a different personality to do it with. and i like that.

4. speaking of such concepts, there are a lot of different music influences within the belles, from country to folk, blues to singer-songwriter, sometimes all within a single song.

5. and then there’s the allure of the sad song. i love sad songs. isn’t it weird how sad, beautiful things can make a person so happy? check out this line:

i pulled my handkerchief our of the pocket you sewed last year
if i can say so myself i’d say this pocket’s had too much use in a year

goodness. so sad and so lovely all at the same time.

6. but there’s also optimism, especially in look up, look out. buffered by a fabulous, swirling piano melody, this song, in a small way, reminds me of death cab for cutie’s stay young, go dancing. it’s about looking forward and letting go of the past, to simply accepting. i love that this is the belle to end the album.

you were breathing shallow
you were seeing with short – sighted eyes
and then i found you
i say i know you
i will pull you out

i found you
and i love you
and i see you for all you are
for all you are

7. simplicity. seeley’s music isn’t overloaded with unnecessary loudness or instruments that are meant to overwhelm. sometimes songs require a gentle touch. beloved is an excellent example of this – just amy and her piano. it gets the message across so much more powerfully than anything else.

8. and . . . well, it’s free. i mean, it’s worth your money if you did so pay for it, but as you have a chance to nab it for free, HELLO? what are you waiting for?

go HERE to listen to/buy music from amy seeley.

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