“No it’s nothing to be sad about / It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.” That’s how the latest album from Grace Ives, programmer extraordinaire and angelic singer, ends. It’s not a particularly sad album, but it’s certainly an introspective one. And one that young folks could relate to, finding their place in a busy world, on a spinning planet. Grace Ives is three albums in, and this one, with True Panther Records, is her magnum opus so far, the culmination of her artistry.
Where the prior two albums showed talent in melody and composition, this one really shines in each and every song on the album. In the past, some songs, while fun and interesting, seemed like just filler. But she comes out of the gate, three years after her album, 2nd, and maintains a poppy, catchy, and totally unique feel throughout her album Janky Star. “Isn’t it lovely? / I’m waking up right by your side / Call it a miracle / I never died one of those nights.” Instead of sad, the album is often secretly celebratory. Of the “Lazy Days,” of love interests, girls and boys, like on “Shelly,” of being the “Angel of Business,” a good moniker for someone who brings such beauty and magic to her listeners, with such professionalism, so to speak.
This is an album from a producer and artist, with all the polish it needs, and all the originality it can muster, to impress her listener, and move their body and especially their heart. “The clouds, they start to sing / Like, ah-ah-ah-ah.” At times she reminds me of the program-heavy pop alternative of Lorde, and has the same replay ability in her songs. Though they all soar, stand out tracks are the goose-bump inducing, “Burn Bridges.” “This is the only part of me I’ll ever let you see.” It shows a woman in control of her destiny and who knows what she’s willing to give. And she gives a lot.
“Angel of Business” is also a stand out track, with its brilliant, hypnotic programming. “I just wanted to relate / It only took me like 300 times / Just to motivate.” The lyrics make you wonder just how many song attempts Grace made, before she landed on these ten shining gems of songs. You don’t hear programming like Grace’s out there, too often. Something that doesn’t sound derivative or retro at all, but finds its place firmly in the twenty first century.
It’s an impressive album of pop-adjacent songs that shows Grace coming of age, both in sound and meaning. I think Janky Star is gonna put her more solidly on the map of modern rock, songs that could be played on the radio or just in some millennial’s headphones, and I’m excited to see the reception of the album. It’s only thirty minutes long, but it’s a full offering, that covers a lot of ground. If you liked her already, I think you’ll love this album. If you haven’t heard her before, check out this album of danceable, relatable beauties.
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