Song In My Head: Gwen Sebastian CD Review
Gwen Sebastian may not be a name that is easily recognizable to some, but she is definitely one to watch out for. She paid her dues over the years, cutting albums and touring across the states, before her appearance on season two of NBC’s The Voice cast her into the public eye. Her turn on the tour circuit with coach Blake Shelton (and now with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert) certainly helped build her fan base, but if you really want to get to know Sebastian as an artist, look to her recently released self-titled CD, Gwen Sebastian. It’s an album filled with grit and passion, and, honestly, it’s one of the best lyrical albums I’ve heard in a long time.
The first single off Gwen Sebastian is Suitcase, a track that weaves together the tale of a marriage that’s about to end. It’s a story told many times but these clever lyrics will stay with you whereas others like it might just fade from memory. The chorus itself paints quite the image with just a few lines; “I hope it hits you when you’re leaving/ The screen door and guilty feeling/ Well I packed up all the heartache/ You’ll walk on down the driveway/ With nothing in your hand but a suitcase.” The suitcase as an analogy is used a lot, which can become a little heavy handed, but if you listen close, you’ll catch lines that are so crafty that it might take you a couple of listens to realize their power.
As a vocalist, Sebastian is quite unique. She has a rawness to her voice that puts an edge to many of her songs including the first two tracks on the album, I’m Not Who You Think I Am and Over My Dead Body. These two songs make a strong first impression, both lyrically and vocally, and gets you excited to see where Sebastian is going to take you with the rest of the tracks.
On the flip side, Sebastian can produce a voice just as smooth and melodic as some of the best country artists on today’s charts. She doesn’t become too polished though, still keeping that twang and rawness that I love. The best example of this comes with Fix This Fix, a song that shows why love is the one emotion that we can’t let go.
As an album, Gwen Sebastian is filled with many songs that were actually put on the back burner for a few years. Sebastian has said that she wasn’t sure whether they could make it as singles or not so, on her previous work, she replaced them with songs that were a little more radio friendly. However, for this latest album, Sebastian decided to make something she truly loved and the result is fourteen songs (the fifteenth on the album is a remix featuring Miranda Lambert) that build upon each other so well that to really experience the complexity of the album, you need to sit down and listen to it as a whole. By doing so you’ll experience the wide range of Sebastian’s vocals and notice those little lines that once you hear them, you won’t want to forget them.