Review- “Even Though the Sky Was Falling”- Karyn Ellis
Grayowl Point, May 15, 2010
To put it plain and simple, Karyn Ellis is a pop singer-songwriter that others should aspire to be like. Not one note or lyric is wasted on her third recording, Even Though the Sky Was Falling.
Whether it is by the simple melodies, catchy hooks or Ellis’ breathtakingly angelic voice, you will definitely be charmed by this ten-song collection.
It doesn’t matter what kind of tune she sings; whether it is slow and melodic like the album opener “Be My Girl” or the album’s title track, or playful and upbeat like “Bitter Grasses” or “Little Grey Sparrow” she succeeds. “Be My Girl” starts out slow and is only backed by a piano, and then you are swiftly introduced to Ellis’ voice, a voice that sets her apart from other female singers. The song sounds so natural that she is even able to bring in a gospel choir without it seeming like something is off.
Or take “Not Looking for Love”- again, the melody is rather simple but also introduces a sweeping strings section, making the song infinitely enjoyable. In most cases, I would scoff at the lyrics “I’m not looking for love/This foolish thing that’s left behind” but coming from Ellis, they seem completely honest and unabashed.
When it moves onto “Bitter Grasses” Ellis proves that she can just as easily do an upbeat, borderline-country song and not lose her touch. The tone of this song is almost accusatory, especially with the repeated hook of “You don’t hear a word I said.”
Speaking of hooks, that’s what makes the next song, “Low” such a great one. Most of the song is repetition of a few phrases accompanied by finger snaps ending with “Why am I so low?” The song’s simplicity makes it one of the best on the album.
Melodies and vocals aside, Karyn Ellis is also great with her lyrics as well. “Beauty” begins with a string of similes, such as “Like a churchyard fills a bell/Like a desert fills the sand.” Her lyrics also serve as great storytelling, namely in the album closer “Motorcycle Ride” which tells the story about a fond memory with a past lover.
If I haven’t made it clear by now, this is a fantastic record from a local Torontonian artist and is really setting the bar for female pop singer-songwriters.
Top Tracks: “Low”; “Motorcycle Ride”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*