Album Review: Kiesza – Sound of a Woman

Published On October 24, 2014 | By Helena Ho | Albums, Music

With her flaming red hair and piercing vocals, it’s hard not to notice the one woman show that’s Kiesza. Since popping onto our radar with her smash hit single Hideaway last April, Kiesza has quickly become in-demand in the music industry. As well as penning hits for stars like Rihanna, the multi-talented Canadian has been busy working on her debut album – which is scheduled for release this month. Aptly titled Sound of a Woman, Kiesza will have you dancing and crying throughout the entire 50 minutes, in what is probably one of the better musical offerings of 2014.

Kiesza Sound of a WomanOne of the most unique elements of Kiesza are her ringing, powerhouse vocals. Characters like her are what we like to call kick-ass; in fact, literally – she was offered the position as a sniper in the Canadian Navy. Perhaps it’s for the best that she left the Navy, or else the world would never have the pleasure to witness those great set of piercing pipes. She doesn’t hold back in Hideaway, a soaring, uptempo number that’s a combination of disco and modern electro. The track is heavily reliant of bass and staccato synths to give it that groovy feel. Likewise, No Enemiesz follows the same structure if not even more disco-inspired than the last. It makes us all nostalgic for the noughties pop/electro era – think back to Kylie Minogue’s Fever days. The track gradually builds in volume and pitch, before Kiesza’s insane vocal range gives off to a mild bass drop. Then again, it’s not like we’re expecting anything too heavy from this chiller album – it’s not EDM or pop, but Kiesza in a league of her own.

There are a few hip-hop influences in there, though. Losin’ My Mind is one of them, starting with a bare acapella before adjusting into an old-school beat. The production is kept to a minimum of her vocals, and although it sounds a little rough, her melody is so soulful that you can’t help but sway along. With the help from rapper Mick Jenkins, the entire track is sent to a chilled zone that’s reminiscent of classic lazy Sundays. Bad Thing attempts to follow in the same footsteps, but Joey Bada$$ and Kiesza are a bit of a weird coupling. At first, his occasional ad-lib/barking is too rough for the bluesy R&B setting, but his contributing verse is toned down enough to work a mellow vibe through the track. Kiesza, although powerful, holds quite a bit of sex appeal enough to sell a song. So Deep, with her breathy and dreamlike quality, is a recipe for moody bedroom music. Over a muted bass and echoey synths, she croons about falling deep in love. The track picks up about two-thirds of the way through, quickening to double time as to not bore the listener with its mid-tempo beat. The real clever one here though is Piano, which doesn’t feature a hint of piano in it at all. Instead, the title is a metaphor of her lovely lady bits – sending the track into a clever little wordplay.’You’ve got me breaking all the rules, so put your hand on my piano,’ she moans, in between subtle synths and sweet falsettos. Normally, the overt sexualisation of an instrument would probably make one cringe; but she pulls it off so well that we let her off the hook. Just barely, though.

Perhaps the best track of all though, is Sound of a Woman. It’s no wonder she chose this is the title of her debut LP; this soaring ballad outsings and outshines all the other tracks by a tenfold. This is the ultimate heartbreak song – it starts off with strings and the bare beauty of her voice, before the piano chords build into an earth shattering chorus. It’s altogether devastating, actually – Kiesza’s high-pitched belt resembles the scream and cry of an unappreciated partner. The sky-scraping strings only enhance the dramatic quality of the track. Lyrically, it’s a winner – with lines like ‘that’s the sound of a woman, begging you to try just a little more’, those in lacklustre relationships will know exactly where she’s coming from.

Kiesza’s debut offering proves that she’s powerful and unstoppable; a serious force to be reckoned with in the industry. She can sing, she can dance, she can write songs and even hold a gun properly – but that’s not all that makes her unique. Her hybrid blend of disco, indie pop, R&B and blues is what makes her stand out both musically and lyrically. And that is exactly why she’s worth all the hype that surrounds her.

4 / 5 stars     

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