Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Her sophomore album is a delight in every way.
A few years ago, it almost went very south for Nina Nesbitt. About two years after successfully releasing her debut album Peroxide, she quit her record label, claiming that her they were attempting to force her into being someone whom she wasn't, and that she wanted "to create an album that makes people feel something, that is honest and that I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life", as opposed to being made to "play it safe" and "have a hit". Well here it is, her second album and her first since making that statement.
And it is stunning.
This album is a journey, a reflection of her life in her early 20s and full of songs with familiar themes in them. What's different, though, isn't just the sound (which has itself evolved drastically), it's the confidence. In songs like 'Loyal to Me', a generous dose of early 21st century R&B, and 'Love Letter', she oozes a confidence and swagger that only radiates out of an artist truly at home with what they're doing. Particularly in those two songs, this is Nina Nesbitt: Unleashed. Her talent for the quiet-yet-powerful still remains, however, with 'The Moments I'm Missing' and 'Somebody Special' really standing out in this area.
Going back to the sound, Nesbitt has dropped the backing-band style of Peroxide, opting for a more urban, electronic base to her sound. She's also dropped much of the happy-go-lucky feel of the previous album. There's no 'Mr. C', no 'He's The One I'm Bringing Back', no 'We'll Be Back For More'. The presence of pianos and acoustic guitars remains, but Nesbitt has grown-up, and her sound is more considered and more mature as a result. The transformation brought about by her Modern Love EP has fully blossomed on this album, and it's a joy to behold. She has found herself.
On the more technological side of things, the production is crystal clear, yet doesn't lack any punch when it's needed. Sonically, it's a strong album, which always helps, no matter how good the songs are. Listening to it on my AKG headphones was a delightful experience not only for my music taste, but for my ears too, so kudos to everyone who worked on that side of the glass as well.
It's hard to pick a highlight. The quality remains relentlessly high throughout, though 'Empire' is a corker, especially live, when I first experienced it. 'Colder' also gets you grooving. But really, this truly is an album; almost any song could be a single because they are all that good. Bonus points for including the lyric "there's zombies in the bed".
I enjoyed Nina's first album, but looking back, it doesn't compare to this. 'Tough Luck', 'Align', 'The Hardest Part' and 'The People' (only found on Peroxide's deluxe edition) remain brilliant songs, but I don't think any other song on that can hold a candle (or 18) to the ones found on her sophomore album. She truly has come of age on it, and Nesbitt is now 'Two Worlds Away' from who she was then (okay, I'll stop the bad puns now).
And though it's a long title, 'The Sun Will Come Up, The Seasons Will Change' is an apt title for both the album and its closing song. The reflective nature of the song...er...reflects the album as a whole, during which Nesbitt showcases her experiences and what she has learned in the last few years of her life. It's a beautiful and fitting closer to the album, making it feel like it's come full circle right at the end - as does the journey.