Grace, ever throwing curveballs, I think has knocked some of her supporters back on their feet a bit with the sneak peek she provided of a new composition called “Happy Songs”. The confessional honesty of the lyrics has been discussed in the VanderVault Discussion Forum at some length, but the song also hints towards a new musical direction. It’s a unique effort, but I’m compulsive at playing the “sounds like” game with every song I listen to. And I’m hearing some touches of Björk, Enya, Sia, and oddly enough a bit of Moody Blues here (a Grace cover of “Tuesday Afternoon” anyone?).
Attempting to unravel a musical mystery, I think there might be a previously “missing piece” in what we already have come to know as Grace’s songwriting talent. For a brief period a more fully produced demo of the song leaked earlier this week that provided a glimpse into Grace’s ability to add more complex atmospheric accompaniment to her songs without the aid of a producer, presumably using the music production software called “Garage Band”. It was a pleasant surprise to many. And I’ve been wondering if part of the “answer” is that Grace is highly “attuned to sound” like some of the more symphonic modern pop songwriters. That she’s less Carole King or Taylor Swift, and more the ones that I mentioned above.
Grace is exploring how sounds and music communicate and convey her thoughts and emotions. It’s part of what she has said in interviews was in her head, but not yet projected into reality from her vision yet, but maybe has begun in earnest like with “Happy Songs”. Maybe what is a heretofore unknown component of what is so special about Grace, and a challenge to put a finger on, hadn’t seen the light of day. Not until she was exposed to the studio, producers to mentor her, and the availability of more sounds and instruments.
I think we might be seeing a glimpse of Grace’s musical direction with “Happy Songs”, one that we might look back on. I don’t see her going backwards, as she’s always moving forward (which is maybe why I read so often that she’s taking us “for a ride”). That ride might be filled with wonderfully complex, atmospheric music, but sparse enough to float along to, not slog through. And there was already a great article about Grace’s voice here in the Vault, so Grace’s amazing voice fitting this type of music is a given. Maybe “Happy Songs” is Just The Beginning