There’s a great danger in being friends with artists. What if they make you go to all of their shows? What if they start a Kickstarter? What if they suck?
Thankfully, with Emily Reid (now known simply as Reid), that’s not an issue.
Reid’s self-titled debut dropped Tuesday and it’s stuck in my head ever since. The album covers all the edges of pop, from the anthemic single “The River” and the country-fried “Lover” to the surprisingly synth-y “West Coast Waters” to the pop-rock closer “A Friend of Yours.” Her voice sounds like a softer, more — ahem — natural Ke$ha; she knows just when to stretch out her ohs and when to let her voice float effortlessly above her acoustic guitar. With an eye for hooky Sara Bareilles-esque melodies and a penchant for sprinkling in handclaps, snaps, and a bit of glockenspiel, Reid writes the kind of songs that are both unapologetically honest and unashamedly catchy. Every single song is made for stomping your feet and chanting along during an outdoor show. Hell, even the sad songs are underlined with an optimistic hope for better times. This is the kind of music that you can settle into — like your favorite sweater, it’s cheerfully familiar — but Reid puts enough of a twist in her songwriting that it’s never dull. Yes, almost every song is a love song, but never the one you expect. “I want to be the one I’m wanting / I want to be the one I need / I’m not looking for somebody / I wanna be staring back at me” she sings in “The One I Want,” the first real ballad on the album. Like all of her songs, it’s a tribute to the self-discovery and independence. Reid isn’t perfect, but she’s trying and, dammit, we’re all gonna become friends in the meantime.
Standout Tracks: “Lovers,” “Hollow,” and “Honestly”