After the release of her last album Flags with feel-good titles like “Something in the Water“ and “Coachella,” Brooke Fraser went into a creative incubator and didn’t come out until she was fully cooked in 2014.
Brutal Romantic is chock full of mountains and valleys made out of leather and glass. This is why I LOVE it. I’ve heard so many albums that are diving for rich, thick, woodsy scents or plush, grassy sounds that are sadly as synthetic as a silk “flower” from Hobby Lobby. Man-made production isn’t really something I’m looking for, but here it works. Masterfully.
Fraser pits her soothing vocals against digital textures to create mood, tension, and conflict. In novel writing we can learn something from her music. The beauty of what we want our story to portray by the end needs to be set against goals, motivation, and conflict to arrive at a resolution. BUT…back to the album…
The sounds Fraser has aimed for—and hit—have accentuated her poetic songwriting. “Psychosocial” is a pithy take on social media and the way our generation connects with one another. I always appreciate Fraser’s writing because it is soul-searching and provocative in the way it makes you think about life. Many times listening to this album I have been encouraged and challenged by the lyrics.
“New Years Eve“, however, is the track that is most relevant for today. It’s calming and reflective. The lyric shows a desire for quiet (not always a bad thing), and to ring in the New Year alone. While I am an advocate for family and community, I also know that sometimes we need to take a step back, reevaluate, and clear our minds of replaying the past and worries of our future. Tonight, I will be with my family. Then I will take time to pause. To be alone for a moment—at least—and reload my arsenal. To take up courage again.
Cheers to a peaceful 2015!