Music review | Leighton Meester- Heartstrings

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We've all had that one phase in our life when we *might* have been a *tad* obsessed with Gossip Girl and to those of us, Leighton Meester is no stranger. But for those of you who may have skipped the GG phase in your lives, you have most certainly heard of her many musical collaborations with Cobra Starship, Robin Thicke and many others, which I will admit, I wasn't a big fan of.

If you're expecting to hear music like that... then you might as well click off, because this sound is completely different as to what we might have expected.

At the height of her fame in 2008, Meester landed a contract with Universal Republic Records and began recording the type of music I really am not into; club friendly music. In an interview with Elle, she has stated that "she wasn't one-hundred percent convinced that she was happy doing that" and that "it didn't feel right for her" (quote). But now, she's back with a pretty up-close and personal debut album, which... I am a big fan of.

Found on billboard.com
You're wondering how it sounds? Well, to put it simply... mix up a bit of Lana Del Rey, Joni Mitchell, add a hint of jazz and a pinch of Ingrid Michaelson and The Honey Trees... and there you have it. Heartstrings by Leighton Meester.

The album opens with the track Heartstrings, one of the many moody and melancholic songs on the whole album. However, the spirit of the song doesn't match it theme whatsoever. Getting out of a bad relationship is a reoccuring theme in many, many songs from many artists (see The Wire by HAIM, We Get On by Kate Nash, Sorry I'm Not Sorry by Tessa Violet and so on), but not to get sucked back into it... that's a different story. Also, can we just appreciate the final chord in major? It sort of acts like a way to make sure to let us know that everything's going to be OK (or maybe I'm just reading into it a bit too much...yeah, probably that).

Heartstrings is followed by Run Away, a complete opposite to the previous song (according to the meaning). It sort of acts like a plead to hold onto something good and go back to the good old days and escape the cruel reality. Good For One Thing might as well be one of the most optimistic songs on the album, being a weird type of love song, perhaps describing a friends-with-benefits type of relationship. Sweet, again, a love song, describing the time where there's just so many things going on and you feel like you will explode and everything is just... way too sweet. It's very dreamy and quite... perfect in a way.

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On My Side is a song that could easily be paired with Good For One Thing, both containing really upbeat rhythm and wonderful harmonies, talking about happiness and all that jazz. LA is perhaps the song that moves away from the folk genre the most on the whole album. The vibe of the song definitely rings the classy 1950's mixture between jazz and rock and it definitely rings the American dream vibe (plus, the modulation really helps with that one). Through Dreaming (perhaps one of the songs that could resemble my version of the perfect lullaby) and Blue Afternoon we reach Entitled, a song that's telling the story of finding happiness again and getting out of bad relationships, which ends the album on a very melancholic note, because not only is the song blaming the other participant of the relationship for her own unhappiness, it also blames herself.

Found on vandalamagazine.com
This whole album was very difficult to decode the meaning of and I think that's why I kind of like it; all the meaning is hidden and it's up to ourselves to discover it and interpret it in our own measure. I think the whole album is so mysterious and both simple and complicated, when you look at it (melody and lyrics wise).
The melody of every song is very rich in the guitar area; it almost feels like you're walking on a nice rug made of the softest velvet and it almost sounds quite soothing to the ears. The backing vocals are never too much and they never interrupt the main melody (in fact, I quite enjoyed their absence for a bit) and the percussion is always there, but... not really, if that makes any sense. The melodies themselves make me want to take a roadtrip on Route 66 and just... lay back, enjoy the sun, that sort of thing. I think that's the best way to describe the instrumental side of the album.

For a person who's been through quite a roller-coaster when it comes to fame and popularity and perhaps collaborations that not many people were fans of, I am fairly surprised that Meester came up with such a deep and personal album that seems very rough and simple around the edges, without twenty different producers and lyric writers. Somehow, I believe it suits her personality a lot more and seems really down to earth and very realistic. Overall, I quite dig this new album and I hope that she will continue making them for a very long while. I'd give it a 5/5.

I hope you have enjoyed this music review! If you have any more suggestions for these blog posts (cause I kind of love doing them), then make sure you leave them in the comments below and I shall see you soon!
xxx Katherine

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