It’s fitting that Lainey Dionne titled her debut album, Self-Titled. A complete reflection of different beats, exuberant riffs and some catchy chorus hooks – Self-Titled is filled with emotion and personality. Just like any great artist, her songs are put on her heart sleeves. Full with spunk, Dionne is the East Coast’s answer to disrupting the pop music scene. Authentic and unafraid to keep it real, Self-Titled is a riveting 12-track game-changer.
In many ways, Dionne reminds me of Avril Lavigne. Both have a youthful voice, and a dash of sprite in their magical vocals. I think Dionne has a bit more depth and a bit more of a sunshine in her tone. In the opening track, “Hey London” she quickly deploys a generous amount of groove and airy harmonies. What plays out in this song is very Taylor Swift-esque. Dionne has an immediate way of keeping the listener enthralled. This song sums up a quick overseas romance, with the inevitable self-doubt and mental exhaustion bagged into the experience. “Losing my grip, don’t mind the gap, I’m so over it, and there’s no room for me anyway, so I say, hey London, I’m over it…” I liked how this isn’t a happily ever after song. She honestly could be singing about a guy she met up with, or frankly, she could be singing about her entire London traveling experience. I enjoyed the mystery.
In “Last Flight” Dionne paces herself a bit more into the Tov Love camp, with a birdsong-tweet-like electronic beat that fleshes against another skipping electronica base. Then in “Wake Up Call”, the rowdy vocals come out again and again and throw in a slight angst. “Old Enough” feels sweet and the tinny percussion is an interesting tweak. I think at this point in the album, Dionne has quickly established herself as producing songs that are vibrant and just keep unfolding like a kaleidoscope of sounds and colors. “Old Enough” is a charming little take, and when she sings, nobody is too young to love, she has a warmth that is airy and floats about. I felt like this was a top standout on the album.
“Damned”, “Kick It In The Shadows” and “Skin” make up the middle part of the album. Dionne continues to reveal more diverse lyrics, and energized music beds. In “Cool Story, Bro”, a bouncy beat features Dionne cascading the harmonies. At one point the music bed sounds like she’s reversing the beat and letting it hover over another layer – it’s really surreal. I think I know better than to give into your ego, Dionne sings, staying within a short range but still hitting the emotional highs. I liked this song way more than I thought I would – a good reminder to not judge a song by its title.
“Cumbria”, “Sleeping Dogs Lie”, “Senti(mental)” and “I Love You to Death” wrap up the final pack of songs. Focusing on “I Love You to Death”, another fine selection, she does repeat the chorus right about, mixed just over the drilling beat. I loved the flare and the laid back vibe that she presents. All in all, Dionne’s Self-Titledis worth the listen!