Review by Jamie Glenn
Portland, Oregon native Haley Johnsen returns with a fierce vocal delivery on latest single “Lift Me Up.” This newest release comes her sophomore EP, When You Lit The Sky in 2017. “Lift Me Up” packs a punch that gives listeners the chance to have a good time with Johnsen while she showcases her skills amid a full band.
The powerful vocal delivery on this new single sounds most like one of Johnsen’s previous releases titled “Cuts and Bruises” where Johnsen offers the same style of grit and grain to her vocal delivery matched with a full band of electric heroes. Opening lyrical moments like, “I’ve never been the type to point and then pursue / my game is sweet and quiet, waiting for the move,” offer an extra layer of mistral edge for listeners to untangle.
When the beat picks up in the middle of the track, listeners are left with lyrics that offer a bit of a serious, romantic edge, like, “With a jack and an ace of spades / you threw a good hand / you got me flushing darlin’ I’m going all in” are where the romance and gritty delivery really come together to mix something that goes down with a smooth kick.
“Lift Me Up” may make some listeners nostalgic for early 2000’s pop, much like the sounds of Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” or Colbie Caillat’s game changing Reggae tune with Fedora man Jason Mraz “Lucky.” This latest effort from Johnsen hits the strongest chords like in “Second Chance” and “My Oh My” from Tristan Prettyman’s 2012 revenge flame of a record Cedar + Gold. “Lift Me Up” carries that same emotional flame, it’s not apologetic, it knows what it’s supposed to be, and every aspect of the track hits the mark.
The instrumentation is heavy, but never overpowers the song enough to mess with how listeners may interact with the lyrical content. Heavy hitting sounds help get the tone of the track across without taking away from Johnsen’s killer vocal delivery from start to finish.
Johnsen may have some big shoes to fill with this new song, but she’s exactly what the music scene could use right now, less trap rap, more soul and emotion. They say that all good music trends always circle back around, with “Lift Me Up” Johnsen could be the start of the next generation of feel good reggie pop.
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