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Yola - Stand for Myself Music Album Reviews

Yola - Stand for Myself Music Album Reviews
The Bristol-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s second album isn’t defined by genre as much as it is by Yola’s indomitable spirit.

The singer-songwriter Yola—born Yolanda Quartey in Bristol—was riding high in early 2020; she’d been nominated for four Grammy awards earlier that year and she’d been cast as rock pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Elvis, Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming biopic on the 20th-century American idol. An opening slot on fellow country-rock alchemist Chris Stapleton’s tour loomed.

Then the pandemic hit, forcing the Nashville-based singer-songwriter to delay all those plans and lock down, which helped her focus on crafting the follow-up to her 2019 debut, Walk Through Fire. Renlisting the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach as producer, she emerged from the last year with Stand for Myself, in which she revels in possibility, using her curiosity to nourish her inner resolve and vice versa. Yola sings her truth as she immerses herself in different genres and styles, her formidable instrument guiding the way.

“When will you start living,” she wails on the slow-burning opening track “Barely Alive,” “now that you’ve survived?” The answer, Stand for Myself asserts over and over, is right now—although it’s important to note that Yola’s hope isn’t borne of wide-eyed optimism. She’s seen enough of the world to realize that life can be nasty, brutish, and short. Or, as she muses on “Like a Photograph,” a shimmering country-pop lament that recalls the era when Nashville helped guide the course of the adult-contemporary charts, “Whoever said life was like a river/That was gonna roll on forever/Had to have been out of their mind.”

But on the flip side, any chance to enjoy things is a gift, and Yola’s life experience doesn’t dim the joy of Stand for Myself; if anything, her keen knowledge of life’s indignities is a weapon that can be wielded in the name of living well being the best revenge. Take “Diamond Studded Shoes,” which blossoms from a barroom rave-up into a fiery dance-at-the-revolution anthem, gains steam each time Yola reaches its chorus, which rhymes “gonna turn out right” with “we gots to fight.”

Stand for Myself isn’t a record defined by genre as much as it is by Yola’s spirit, which transforms her matter-of-fact assertions of personhood into amphitheater-ready anthems. “Be My Friend” is a gripping testament to the transcendence offered by friendship, with folk-rock hero Brandi Carlile adding soaring counterpoint vocals to the track. “Dancing Away in Tears” is a sumptuous, horn-assisted slice of breakup soul that turns sobbing underneath the disco ball into a reason for living more passionately, a confident showcase for Yola’s belt that should at the very least get her a look-see for a slot on Silk Sonic’s tour.

Yola also shows off the many sides of her voice, which plants itself in the ground and scales octaves with aplomb. “If I Had to Do It All Again” pairs a knotty instrumental bed—quickly picked guitars, a tense organ line—with Yola singing in her upper register, tentatively wondering about the emptiness of life without a special someone. It spins up into a storm on the bridge, with strings rising and Yola’s voice expanding into a full-on bellow—and the mood shifts back and forth once more, with the song fading out as she digs further into the idea of letting go. It packs multiple stages of post-relationship grief in close to four minutes, with Yola’s vocal stylings and Auerbach’s savvy arranging highlighting the pointed lyrics.

Before the pandemic altered lives around the world, Yola was on the verge of a commercial breakthrough—awards-show exposure, a looming tour, a meaty movie role. But Stand for Myself, with its themes of inner fortitude only brightening the white-hot star at its center, vaults Yola to another place in the pop world, with her boundless curiosity and vocal brawn establishing her as a knowing, honest voice for those who need help summoning their own strength from within.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Yola - Stand for Myself Music Album Reviews Yola - Stand for Myself Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, August 12, 2021 Rating: 5

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