Nina Nesbitt is the next pop star in line to have got their start from YouTube. Although not the most organic means of working your way into the music industry, it is becoming part of the modern social media-driven norm.
The young Scottish lass made an entrepreneurial start by recording acoustic covers and originals in her bedroom and offering them up to the big bad internet universe. Amongst the routine internet vitriol she found a fan base, including the likes of Ed Sheeran and Example, who both invited her to come on tour with them based on her DIY recordings. Before she knew it she was embarking on a headline tour of the UK without ever releasing a song, going on to release a number of EP’s whilst working with the likes of Fraser T Smith (Adele, Lily Allen, Ellie Goulding).
Her debut album Peroxide sees her try to cement her place in a musical landscape in which she is already a reincarnate. The title and opening track establishes the theme for the album: a young naive outlook on relationships, seemingly with as much bad luck in love as Taylor Swift. The record’s first single released earlier in the year, Selfies, is an upbeat keys-driven reflection of modern teenage social media habits and attitudes, with heavy repetition of unsophisticated lyrics, namely the almost one-line chorus, “taking pictures of myself, self, self”.
The tales of teenage crushes continue, with track 18 Candles an ode to how much she has developed since the tender age of 16. It incorporates a more folky vibe, before the bridge and chorus revert to pop sensibilities, exhibiting a similar structure to Stay Out. Her intrinsic folk stylings are more prevalent on Two Worlds Away, an acoustic guitar-driven number reminiscent of a Ed Sheeran hit. A snare drum sneaks in to add to the melancholy feel, as Nina canters that “friends end with end” and “love is almost lose”.
This melancholia continues on Align, a piano ballad reinforced with a pretty strings section. The sadness however is immediately stripped away as Mr C follows, bearing a more upbeat, almost country Lily Allen feel, complete with token swearing. The bad girl image isn’t sustained though, with Nina unable to commit to the decision to swear on the album, instead singing “I don’t give a fuss” in the funky He’s The One I’m Bringing Back chorus. Hold You brings a nice dynamic to the latter end of the album, featuring male vocals from Irish outfit Kodaline. Final track The Hardest Part is a completely stripped back acoustic ballad, an endearing throwback to the style with which she made her name, letting her delicate voice shine.
Nina is part of the new generation of internet and reality show musicians, with a brand of acoustic ‘indie’ pop that is a mixed bag of folk and pop. Although Peroxide bears a bleached sound, it is carried by her vocal talent, with her voice sitting neatly somewhere between Nanna from Of Monsters and Men and Laura Marling. The lyrics may be naive, but on the whole the album is upbeat and catchy. The repetition and poppy melodies are directed almost solely at teenage girls, but hey, she is one herself and fellow teen girls will enjoy singing along.