Review by Emily Smith

New York singer/songwriter Samantha Iveliz Vazquez releases her debut EP “Love Record.” The EP addresses some form of love and relationships so we think the title is just right! There are two sides to this EP: The sweet, summery tracks that sound like they were taken straight out of the early 2000’s pop radio, and the intimate, aching ballads.

The tracks “If I Was Her” and “Love Record” fit into that early 2000’s sound with an upbeat acoustic guitar beat and relatable lyrics about an innocent crush on someone. “If I Was Her” is about a guy who won’t notice the main character and is constantly noticing other girls. As Vazquez sings “And you’re still hung up on this other girl/ It’s like you’re living in another world,” you can tell that the character is becoming frustrated. The lyrics also express how this other girl should know how lucky she is that this guy likes her, and how the character wouldn’t miss the chance to be with him. These lyrics go “If I was her no one else would stand a chance/ ‘Cause I know if she sees what I see/ She would know just how lucky she’d be/ to be loved by you.” This track has a very bright, singable tune that will definitely get stuck in your head. The song also evokes a lighthearted feeling enhanced with a playful keyboard vibe in the beginning, and both acoustic and electric guitars that add a touch of sweetness.

“This record is all about the different seasons of love. It’s not always perfect but it’s always worth it. I really wanted to capture those emotions when creating this “sound,” says Samantha.

“Love Record” features a similar kind of performance from the acoustic guitar, and has a rhythm that you can’t help but clap to. This is yet another song about a crush, and how Vazquez’s previous experiences with love have not been so great. As she sings in the very beginning, “My love record doesn’t play the happiest song/ Its got a scratch or two.” She’s hoping that her crush will help her make a “new song,” or give her the relationship she has wanted all this time. There is some possible wordplay with the title since “record” could mean both a track record and an actual physical record.

Then there are the ballads on this EP, “Stay” and “Father Daughter Dance.” “Stay” is an especially emotional song. It is a somber, disheartened plea for someone not to leave her, hoping she’ll receive some support through hard times.Vazquez sings, accompanied by delicate harmonies, “If you love me you’ll stay on my side/ through the thick of the night.” The verses have a cold, lonely feeling that immediately hits the listener, and the lyrics only add to this. The listener can tell that she is tired and weary, and can only pull through if this other person helps her. The song frames how there have been broken promises in the past with the lyrics “All your promises just prove to be a lie/ And I can’t stand to watch you go/ I won’t sit around just waiting here alone.” The lyrics at times conflict with one another, which show the conflicting feelings she has surrounding the situation; she needs support but is totally unsure if she’ll receive it or more if she’ll just receive more broken promises. The song eventually transitions to a dramatic closing, featuring Vazquez’s soaring vocals, a swelling of strings, and a new level of intensity with the piano. At the very end, it dies out to leave room for the last line, “You promised you would stay with me,” and brings the listener back down to the present moment.

The other intimate ballad, “Father Daughter Dance,” opens with a flourish of strings that transition the verse, led by the piano. This track is about finding guidance, which is expressed through dancing. Lyrics like “Our rhythm fell apart” signify how somehow the support between her and this other person has diminished at a certain point. There is hope to rebuild that support as expressed with the lyrics “Hold me close so I won’t lose my step again.” Dancing is a method of guidance and support from an important figure in one’s life. Another nice feature of this song is that the rhythm makes it so that someone could easily slow-dance to the music.

For those that miss the sweet early 2000’s love songs and crave emotional ballads, this EP is not to be missed.

Listen to “Love Record” here.

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