The cover of Mary Lambert’s new album, “Bold,” features the artist front and center wearing a red skirt and sitting on a bright yellow sofa propped up against a neon wall. It looks relatively cheery, so when the first song began and I found myself staring out the Green Line window like someone in a sad music video, I was caught off guard.
A four-minute ballad, “Do Anything,” opens the album with a powerful piano introduction and builds up to a bridge with exceptional vocal layering but then mellows out softly, leaving the song feeling incomplete.
“Lay Your Head Down” seems disappointing, too, because its incredibly slow pace contrasts with the exciting, happy vibe of the front cover. But, skip the song, and you miss Lambert breaking up the singing to speak.
Beginning most of the spoken lines with “I cry because,” Lambert recites her own unnamed poem merging what she sees as bad things—like when people use Twitter or when people refrain from crying—and what she sees as good things, like Harry Potter and chocolate cake.
The poem swept me away. Written and spoken beautifully, it deepened my experience of the album, as I felt so much more aware of the underrated, meaningful moments in life and also the more serious ones she touches upon—like suicide, insanity, and hatred—that seem neglected in the music I’m used to.
Although I appreciated the poem, I was glad when the next track had a bouncier opening.
“Hang Out With You” centers around the desire to be near someone who makes you feel special. This tune felt refreshing since it contrasted with the deep emotions of “Lay Your Head Down,” and the next track follows suit.
As cheesy as this sounds, the energetic beat of “Know Your Name” made me want to jump out of my seat and start dancing with everyone around me, as they do in Disney Channel movies. High School Musical, anyone?
This romantic tune became my favorite for its happy vibe and cool beat and also because it delivered the promised cheeriness of the cover, unlike the earlier songs. If you can only listen to one track on the album, definitely pick this one.
“I’d be Your Wife” comes next, describing the feeling of realizing that a significant other could be “the one.” Although Lambert tries for romance with lyrics like “Every piece of me loves every piece of you,” or “You’re the song I’ve been singing,” the piece feels a little bland, resembling other overly mushy songs that play on soft pop Pandora stations.
“Love is Love,” a piano-based song about a long-term relationship, rounds out the album as a duet between Lambert and her mother. The relationship the song discusses could be seen as romantic, or it could apply to any long-term, meaningful relationship with lyrics like: “Look at us now / Beautiful family / See how love binds our broken wings / And lost hearts find a home.” The track effectively speaks to the importance of perseverance, concluding the album in a way that left a warm feeling in my heart.
Overall, the album is fantastic. Despite its few flaws, “Bold” has a passionate, bouncy, and original feel.
Anyone willing to shift between heavy songs and cheerful ones will like this music, as will someone who hopes to hear a collection of songs that portray intense emotions through Lambert’s stellar voice. Each song discusses topics that help listeners sympathize with Lambert or understand a new perspective on something in their own lives.
If you’re looking to listen to something new and breathtaking, this wonderful and dynamic album should be your pick for September!