A Multi-Dimensional Metamorphosis: Skylar Grey Album Review
It would certainly be quite difficult to find many of Skylar Grey’s earlier works – largely due to the fun fact that she hasn’t really… been Skylar Grey for that long. This delightful singer-songwriter from Wisconsin originally performed under her birth name Holly Brook – perhaps recognized by many for the vocals she lent to Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go”.
Holly would later undergo a surprising change in stage name and write “Love the Way You Lie” for Rihanna and Eminem, as well as co-write Diddy’s “Coming Home” as Skylar Grey. Both were chart-topping (and catchy) songs in their own right, pushing her into the musical spotlight.
To complete this metamorphosis and inaugurate her new pseudonym, Skylar Grey released her second stab at a debut album, Don’t Look Down. A quick listen to her first album Like Blood Like Honey, shows her transformation into a more confident individual who has a lot to offer those who would give her music a chance.
We first face the raw, almost alarming emotions she possesses, come to life in “Back from the Dead” (no pun intended) and “Final Warning”. The slow build-up and eerie psychedelic backdrop allows Skylar Grey to weave a stimulating tale in both tracks – something that can be paralleled to rap-rants attributed to Eminem in the industry. The feeling is effervescent and electric.
As the album continues, she mellows out and lets her listener in on a more sensitive side of her music – “Wear Me Out” and “Religion” presents to us a young, soul-searching woman who seems hesitant at first to put her feelings to paper. The vibe is almost country,but not quite, an interesting genre which she explores with solid poise and musical grace.
But Skylar doesn’t stop there in terms of genre exploration – she continues by taking a dip in electro-pop with“Glow in the Dark” and “Final Warning”. Rather than weakening the overall cohesiveness of her album, it only makes the final product stronger. We begin to understand this second debut as not only a re-emergence, but an affirmation and preparedness to tackle multiple facets of music. Beautifully.
The epitome of this is “White Suburban”, where Skylar takes us on a jazzy adventure through the highs-and-lows of an old flame. Some may say that the track is awfully out of place in the album – but they would be mistaken. It simply compliments the many roads she is taking, the back-alleys and dirt roads that she is not afraid to brave in the name of her new sound, her new identity.
The iTunes store version of this album allows you to take a listen to Skylar’s own rendition of “Love the Way You Lie” (which I whole-heartedly recommend). Rihanna really does do an amazing job in her chart-topper, but it would be a crime not to listen to Skylar sing the song as she originally sampled it. Every emotion and every lyric in the tragic romance can truly be understood through her performance – it is not something to dismiss as just an ‘extra’. This track must be listened to if you are looking to purchase the album.
From the first track to the last, there is definitely going to be something in Skylar Grey’s new album that will appeal to even the most entrenched music lovers. She has covered the bases of electro-pop, to even classical, in a triumphant attempt to win over an audience with powerful lyricism and infectious vocal charm. Don’t Look Down puts Skylar Grey on display for the world to see – on a pedestal among the greatest female singer-songwriters of our time – so why would we ever want to look down?
I mean… aren’t we all getting just a bit tired of country-pop love songs?