by Lindsay Myers
Mercy Bell is a millennial; a queer Filipino-American singer, and her new, self titled, album features a melange that feels appropriate to the Solange-meets-instagram-influencer photo cover. These ten songs cover a lot of ground both musically and thematically. The range of Bell’s vocal tone is impressive- she croons, she growls, she swaggers and twangs, she shouts and yet each song gets the styling it deserves and the album feels cohesive. She has cited her love of pop songwriting in the past and she takes the lessons of hooky melodic pop and applies them to country with beautiful instrumentation on strings and compelling vocal harmonies.
The songs themselves occupy a narrative space of approaching relationships and the passage of time with growing maturity and wry observation. The bookends of the album, “Home” and “Everything Changes,” form a nice circle for listening as they muse on place, nostalgia, and striving to survive life and make meaning of it at the same time. She paints vivid moments with lyrics like “I ain’t got much in my fridge, except chocolate milk and whiskey” and “when I first met you my heart was skin and bones.” The portrait that emerges is of a young queer woman carving out a niche for herself to be authentic, free, and “weird” in a world full of pressures of ambition and day-to-day living. By the time she layers the mantra “everything, everything, everything changes” into the song of the same name the listener is in agreement. What doesn’t change is the power of honest songwriting to strike a chord and resonate.
Mercy Bell’s self-titled album is currently available for sale everywhere online – but especially at http://mercybell.bandcamp.com