Canadian singer-songwriter Alexz Johnson’s new EP “Heart” is being released in anticipation of her upcoming sophomore album. The four track is a thank you to the fans that helped finance the production of the new album through pledgemusic.com. The title track for the new album “American Dreamer” is on the EP and best represents what she is going for. Oddly enough, it is one of the weaker tracks and it can’t help shake the Taylor Swift comparison with its country pop twang.
“This is Heartache” ups the tempo and overall is a breath of fresh air, bursting with life from every seam. The overall production seems less predictable than the title track with pounding drums, blissful strings and groovy guitar licks. Lyrically, there is more personality with the simple but effective “This is Heartache, Though it’s hard to take, can’t we do this face-to-face”, ringing through the chorus. “Nothin On Me” follows suit with a much more laid back approach. The production again shines through with drums that drive the song and syncopated strings accenting the vocals. The chorus really makes its mark with backing vocals that make it even more soulful than it already is.
Speaking of soul, the final track “Thank You For Breaking My Heart” is easily the most soulful. The organ with jazz inspired chords and lounge drums compliment Johnson’s interesting take on heartbreak. The final third of the song really takes off with the backing vocals lifting the final chorus to new heights. Johnson again injects some personality and humour into her lyrics even with the title itself. In terms of the production of the vocal on this EP, it is good to hear some rasp in the vocal. In modern pop with the likes of Pro Tools there is a feeling that everything has to be note perfect. It is nice to hear some pure tone unedited and a producer who understands when to leave a vocal untouched.
Overall, it is a great taster for the fans who helped fund the album but also for new listeners who have yet to experience what she has to offer. The signs are good for the upcoming album with her heartwarming and good-humoured approach to song writing, breathing new life into an otherwise stale and predictable pop scene.