Lissie, a rather unknown American indie-folk singer-songwriter, released her third album, My Wild West on Feb. 12. Unfortunately, with this lackluster release her name will likely remain unknown.
Like most artists, her new album does diverge from her others, but it’s not exciting or refreshing, making it indistinguishable from other smaller indie folk artists. Given that her last album, Back to Forever, had a rather unique and rock-like sound, this new album, My Wild West, seems like a step back for Lissie, both professionally and musically.
Back to Forever featured angsty, raw vocals and lyrics and upbeat instrumentation, where as My Wild West, while still lyrically raw, has more acoustic instrumentation and melodic vocals. Even though My Wild West is much happier sounding lyrically, Back to Forever was much more radio-friendly due to the upbeat instrumentation.
Songs like “Hollywood”, “Wild West”, and “Daughters” show that she still has a bit of that spirited, angsty quality that makes Lissie unique, but are unfortunately overshadowed by twelve coffeehouse songs that all sound the same.
My Wild West sounds much more like an indie artist’s debut album, rather than a third album, where an artist has either developed a distinct sound or is openly experimenting. In fact, this album is very reminiscent of Lissie’s first album, Catching a Tiger, which also featured 12 fairly unmemorable acoustic songs.
Lissie did take one risk on the album with the first song “My Wild West Overture”, a purely instrumental, minute-long track. Since Lissie’s main strength lies in her songwriting, it’s refreshing to see her take a chance by relying solely on her guitar playing instead.
The album has a calmer and more melodic energy than Back to Forever, and songs like “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and “Sun Keeps Risin’” give the impression that Lissie has evolved from the angsty style of her last album, as My Wild West conveys the idea that there is still happiness in a world where bad things happen. This evolution, however, left the album unexciting and relatively dull.
One would hope that, as an artist who has yet to attain a substantial following, Lissie would be experimenting in order to create a unique sound for herself. Instead, she seems to be going down the safer road of an indie-acoustic-coffeehouse-artist.
Upon hearing the song “Hollywood” on her latest album, it’s clear that Lissie is trying to thrive in Hollywood, while facing the trials and tribulations of trying to make it big. This gives listeners the impression that she wants to make a name for herself, but this album likely won’t be the one to get her there.