Album Review: Sinead Harnett’s ‘Lessons in Love’
Written by Kimberly Debnam on October 7, 2019
Album: Lessons in Love
Artist: Sinead Harnett
Label: BAD MUSIC
Release Date: September 20th, 2019
Sinead Harnett, an English artist, recognized for her combination of R&B soulfulness with hinted electronics released her first studio album on September 20. That does not mean that she is particularly new to the music scene. Harnett has released several mixtapes, E.Ps., and singles since her musical debut in 2011. The most recognized track, If You Let Me, was released as a single three years ago. Harnett’s style alone has shown influences of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Amy Winehouse. She has also been compared to Adele. Her debut studio album, “Lessons in Love,” is a reminder to her older fans and a sign to new ones of what she has to offer.
1.) Lessons: As soon as the track begins, you can hear the flamenco influences, as the track has a prominent acoustic guitar riff that runs through the entire song. Forgoing the long intro, the song rises where Harnett sings the most, it counters the sound of her instruments, making it feel very similar to the early 2000’s vibe of songs styled by JoJo, or Christina Aguilera. The song builds up throughout the runtime several times, allowing the track to demonstrate Harnett’s ability to control her voice while following the traditional song structure. As the first song of her album, it instantly sounds like a single, setting the listener’s expectations high.
2.) Leo Bear: Keeping the consistent guitar riff as in the last, this track adds edits of Lo-Fi (Low Fidelity). Harnett also shows fun by playing with backing vocal as well as personal recordings. To the casual listener, you may assume that the song is about a lover with phrases like ‘you’re the one I’ve been waiting for.’ Surprisingly, the background of the song is written in regard to Harnett’s nephew, who was born prematurely and documents how he’s growing up. Towards the end of the track, the song makes a noticeable but complementary change, as she emphasizes the theme of the track – gratitude.
3.) Pulling Away feat. Gallant: The coffee shop instrumentals are less profound as urban instrumentals are prominent through the duetted song. In the opening, Gallant keeps the feeling of love but transitions towards romance. Unlike most songs with a featured artist, this song is closer to a duet as both artists sing individually and together, even on the backing vocals. The track radiates R&B vibes with the soft acoustics and hip-hop beats that are absent at the beginning and end of the track.
4.) If You Let Me feat. GRADES: The oldest track on the album was released as a single over four years ago and surprisingly is a part of Harnett’s debut record, which speaks to either her commitment to style or patience in compiling an album. With powerfully warm sounds that present itself as a cousin to early dubstep coupled with Harnett’s vocals, the track is surprisingly controlled throughout. Also, listening to the song, it makes you visualize; either a music video, or an emotional dance, this is a visible track that makes Harnett’s emotions, and feelings clear. Without being loud, the vibrating bass makes the track feel heavy with emotions relative to unresolved feelings.
5.) No Pressure: The up-tempo style distinguishes it from the previous tracks. With a mix of electro and occasional trumpet, Harnett creates a crack that feels like a coming-of-age film in strictly auditory form. This song instantly feels happy and adds a slight pep to your step. The way that Harnett plays with the chorus notes makes the track vibrantly relaxed, and an easy listen. Throughout the songs, Harnett reminds us that she’s willing to experiment with contemporary elements/genres and that she’ll do it well.
These are just the first five tracks to her album, but they already speak volumes about what you could expect from the remainder of the album. Instead of giving the cliff notes on each song, I’ll leave the remaining seven to the interpretation of your ears. When people hear this album, they have a variety of reactions, but two stuck out the most.
One set of people who liked these opening tracks felt like it contained songs that could be the soundtrack to a film or romantic series.
Another set of people liked the songs because it reminded them of Amy Winehouse or Adele.
Long story short, this album is perfectly built for the ears of those who like Corinne Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, and the Fugees all in a live concert.