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Album Review: Haley Bonar – Impossible Dream

3 min read

Listening to indie-pop Haley Bonar’s newest album Impossible Dream, it would be impossible not to realise that she is a singer-songwriter with a knack for absorbing her life experiences and then morphing them into a strange whimsical world, while every 3 minutes ripping you from that one and throwing you into another. Each song has its own individual story to share.

Haley Bonar - Impossible Dream 2016The opening track Hometown is a lulling, even paced song about Haley’s, you guessed it, Hometown. She reflects on the importance her roots have within her life, “The further I get/The deeper my regrets/Hometown goes wherever you go”, with that last line being repeated 3 times in a row in each chorus, it’s a safe bet to presume that that’s the line she wants to stick with you. Opening with this track immediately lets us know where this album is at. With enough lyrical hooks to be pop but not enough calculated song structure and production to be pop. Yup, it’s unaffected indie-pop.

Haley continues to make use of the repetition of certain lines to spotlight the thought that the audience is going to remember. In the follow-up song to the opener, Your Mum Is Right, this is quite obvious. “Where you gonna go when you’ve done wrong?/ Your mom was right/She’s always right”. These lines are repeated one after another in the whiny ‘I-told-you-so’ way your own mom would say it.

Haley has a way with her vocals, making them sound haunted but angelic at the same time. She makes good use of this in I Can Change, where she is seemingly trying to convince herself that she can change. Sometimes you’re wondering whether she is trying to convince others that she can change and live outside the societal norm regardless of others opinion, or, whether she is trying to convince herself that she can change and mould herself into what others want her to be for the sake of fitting in. It’s debatable but the way she sings it, you can almost hear both interchangeably. “I Can Change” is another use of the spotlight lyric being repeated over and over. The lyrical content is quite fascinating and relevant as she seems to be battling with her urge to hide her sexuality but wanting to be free to love and live, which in itself is a powerful subject to sing about. And for those who can’t specifically relate to that particular struggle in their own lives, I think it’s safe to say most would probably be able to at least relate to the foundational concept of building various walls and masks to protect themselves from the arrows of other people’s judgements. It’s something most people deal with in one way or another. “I could be so happy if I let myself be happy/But I’m too busy behaving for a crowd”, while specifically relatable to the songs subject questioning why it is she is sacrificing love and happiness for the sake of entertaining the image others project onto her, much of the lyric itself is also universally relatable.

Yes, Haley Bonar writes songs from personal experiences and viewpoints, but Haley herself talks about the release of her albums songs and stories best, “They do not belong to me anymore. The interpretation is all yours, therefore these stories are yours.”