EP Review and Giveaway: Chloe Agnew’s The Thing About You

Sun shining over an ice floe.

Irish songbird and former member of Celtic Woman releases an EP that promises to be like nothing we’ve heard before from the singer. Featuring four originals and one cover, the record does not disappoint, and I am excited to share it through the blog’s inaugural post. So let’s dig in, and stick around till the end to celebrate the launch with an exciting giveaway!

The Review

The opening track can be best summed up by its own title: “I Didn’t See It Coming.” With my being someone who experiences synesthesia, the name is even more fitting. Visually, the record comes in guns blazing, with Agnew’s bright voice set against the vivid neon background of the synth-heavy track. The addition of a clearly audible acoustic piano track adds an interesting touch, especially in areas of the song such as the pre-chorus and chorus where it occupies some of the sonic territory typically reserved for a bass.

The second song, “No Good”, is one of my favorites, and is arguably the high point of the record. It opens with Agnew’s voice as a smoky haze, that ultimately turns into a raging fire that tears through the instrumentation, trailed by the overdubbed vocals, in a manner reminiscent of the late, great Aretha Franklin.

Coming in third, “Say It Anyway” tones things down a bit, and does a great job of setting up the rest of the record. With minimal instrumentation, the focus of this song is Agnew’s voice, contrasted against the white piano and the blues and greens of the strings. The song ends with just the piano, which seamlessly transitions into the next song.

Featuring an even more minimal instrumentation of just vocals and piano, Agnew’s rendition of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” is a powerful moment despite its simplicity. With an arrangement this simple, the appeal comes not only from the sound itself, but from the spaces that are left out. This arrangement is a perfect demonstration of how playing with shadows can be as powerful as playing with color. One of my favorite moments in the record where this occurs happens just before the last chorus of “Viva La Vida.” There is a fade to black where everything goes quiet and the song appears to be over, when out of the darkness the music reappears in a higher register than any other point in the song, and both the piano and Agnew’s voice sparkle in a way that make me imagine what it must look like to glimpse sunlight on snow. There’s also a repeating upward motif that appears throughout the song in the piano arrangement that caught my attention, making the shape of the piano’s sound appear to be spinning.

Finally, the piano of “Viva La Vida” serves as a seamless transition to the processed piano opening of the final track, “The Thing About You.” Visually, this song reminds me of the opening track, with its bright colors and flashy instrumentation. The percussive beat of the song and the instrumentation’s upward motion make it the perfect firework ending to the record.

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of The Thing About You!

To celebrate the launch of the blog, readers have the chance to win a copy of The Thing About You, signed by the golden girl herself, Chloe Agnew! The drawing is open to U.S. residents, and will run from 10:00 PM PST on Monday April 15, 2019 to 10:00 PM PST on Monday April 22, 2019.

Visit the giveaway page here.

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