Artist: Kate Hardly
Album: Here, I Made You This (EP)
Label: Kate Hardly
Release Date: November 20th, 2015
Have you ever had a song written about you? There’s something special about a song when you know it’s real. The intimacy, and the connection that it offers is unparalleled. What if someone wrote an entire album just for you?
Boston native Kate Hardly’s debut, Here, I Made You This is a collection of songs that artfully depicts her relationship like peering over the musical diary of a lost love as she tries to pull it all together. The 5 song EP tells the tale of a love lost, and manages to break the fourth wall by directly calling to an ex; spilling out onto the internet as a John Hughes-esque romantic gesture that is sure to win any heart. The title and artwork execute the heartfelt emotion throughout, as though Kate herself made this for you. The songs tell a unique story, yet still they are entirely relatable scenarios sung beautifully, despite their esoteric nature. Although this is Kate Hardly’s first release, she has performed and recorded with some of Boston’s best; all while crafting her skill-set to leave us with Here, I Made You This.
The album starts with “Tinderbox”, a quirky, jangling indie-pop piece that perfectly accounts for the beginnings of a crush, complete with the feeling of innocent obsession and vulnerability that makes new romance exciting. From there, “Chicken” is a cute Americana ballad of cowardice. Aptly set as a waltz, the song describes false starts, and dancing around one’s desire. “Alright, Porch Light” departs from the first two tracks with a distinctly ’90s shoegaze vibe, while Kate sings out the euphoria of her relationship; made complete with accordion and banjo over an eerily dark beat. “Don’t Look at Him” carries an airy organ and spacious synth across words which cry like a mantra. It departs from the typical break-up song however, and serves as a heartbroken reminder that things will be OK. The album is summed up with, “My Sorry Version of an Apology”, as Kate sullenly sings to her ex of what she aimed to achieve. It’s a song of closure and hope.
Overall, Kate Hardly’s Here, I Made You This is a strong debut with interesting, varied instrument choice and sweetly sung vocals. At times it’s reminiscent of Feist, Jewel, Mazzy Star, and Ingrid Michaelson, while offering a style unique in itself, well worth the listen. The narrative is a refreshing look at an old subject, and the realism is palatable. Hopefully her departed finds his musical love letter and is as moved as I felt. I’m sure you will be, too.
LIKEYOUSAID Critic Score: 8.5