Natalie Hiong makes a Beautiful Mess!

Perhaps I reviewed this album a little too late, three months after its release. Or maybe not. The charm about Natalie Hiong’s album is like a pot of congee on a slow cooker, or a con on a long-term job…scrap poor analogy. Basically, it grows on you without you realizing, and one day you pick it up again and realize, it’s a neat lovable album.

For those who have followed the singer-songwriter’s journey since her debut Little Heart, Beautiful Mess might seem at first glance a slightly more produced iteration of the same idea. As a listener, whether Natalie’s niche in the ecosystem is the sweet singer-songwriter of punchy sweet pop tunes written in her own twist has been noticed, but remains to be seen. She presents a five song sophomore EP that for me, is notable for how far she has come since her first album.

There is an Alanis Morrisette quality to how she sings now – whether it’s in ‘Time of Your Lives,’ or Unraveling.  The vibe of the band and the recording sound sparklier, songs come through much tighter, like the final track Little Heart. There is a nuanced lightness and brevity to the lyrics that feels different from Little Heart if compared. Interestingly, this reviewer’s favourite track is the more introspective Unravelling; there is an interesting authenticity that comes through in the lyrics, and it doesn’t dissipate upon repeated listening. It is funny, but listeners, through some weird psycho-analytical-faux-neurological explanation, do ‘sense’ these things. Authenticity comes through most, if not all the time.

And I believe that, in its seeming deception of light-hearted numbers, authenticity is ultimately something that Beautiful Mess tries to deal with. In that respect, the lovely artist herself is putting her heart on the (album) sleeve, telling us that there is something new about her, something fresh in these songs, even if it is still well within her genre comfort zone. Perhaps, as we unravel the album to our heart and ears, we can identify with her on that journey to find place truer to ourselves.

For more information about Natalie Hiong and to check out her new album, click here


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