Artist of the Day: Grace Gaustad

Posted by Greg on Sep 30, 2019 in Music |

We’ve been quite keen on Human, the latest LP from 17-year-old New Yorker Grace Gaustad. Human is a radio-friendly album that has zero filler and a maturity wise beyond her years. The disc at its heart is very synthetic, that is to say, it features mostly synths, drum machines and loops galore.

The album opens with the title track, a polished effort with a titanic pop hook and an appealing EDM breakout at the minute mark. A born performer, “Human” is the first of many apex moments from an artist who absolutely demands larger audiences. One of Gaustad’s best attributes is her ability to vacillate from inward introspection to infectious melodies. One of the best examples is “F.L.Y” an earnest and honest effort that features layered synths and a sonic landscape that seems tailor-made for TVs and films. “Louder” represents her first co-write with producer Scott Effman and it makes for a radio-ready, arena-sized banger that features the line “Your silence has never been louder,” and a bed of strings that leaves the listener wanting just a little more. “Famous” features guest vocals from hip-hop artist Lito and borrows a bit from the Lorde playbook. Of all the songs on the disc’s first half “Famous” is arguably the album’s most urban cut but it is one Gaustad pulls off effortlessly. Buttressed by supreme confidence and a definitive sense of presence “Famous” is ridiculously catchy and downright entrancing.

The disc’s second half opens with “Foreign” another co-write with Effman that marries the EDM influences of the title track and the urban landscape of “Famous.” Somber piano welcomes the melancholic “Same Blood” a song that features some of her strongest vocals to date and what is arguably the strongest and most complete song of the lot. Gaustad is good at teasing the listener and ending most of her songs abruptly, that tactic is most visible in the final line “I’ve always been a standout to a crowd.” And then bam, the song drops and moves forward with “Smokeclouds.”

Another co-write with Effman, “Smokeclouds” is a mature composition about late nights that boasts a sonic veneer that is both major label and stadium ready. A gorgeous acoustic guitar in the song’s final seconds once again serves as another tease. Much like “Same Blood” it once again features another sterling final lyric. Human concludes with “Westside” a piano ballad that is both wintry and welcoming and serves as a fitting book end for an album that does little to disappoint.

Gaustad’s name may be unknown now, but more albums like this and she’ll be topping the charts in no time. If pop music like Christina Perri, Ellie Goulding and Hailee Steinfeld are your fancy, you’ll find a lot to like with Human.

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