REVIEW: Talia Stewart’s ‘Confessional’ A No-Holds-Barred Musical Experience

Word to the wise, before you listen to Talia Stewart’s new album, Confessional: get ready to feel strong emotions. Between the topics explored via Stewart’s jazzy, sultry alto and the album’s hard-hitting and robust soundscapes, you’ll come out having experienced a no-holds-barred exploration of human expression.

And, that is just part of what makes Confessional such a special release. Indeed, this is a collection of songs that explores the depths of our relationships with each other and ourselves, all while pushing the envelope and challenging genre norms, left and right.

We get a taste of this right away with opening track, “Into the Confessional,” whose dark mood is highlighted by a spooky organ and a somber vocal melody, preparing us for the soul-baring experience we’re about to embark upon. This ambiance continues on “Rat Race,” which gives Stewart the opportunity to claim her strength as a woman and put shifty men on notice.

The musical influences become increasingly diverse as Confessional continues. “No Escape” offers a guitar progression reminiscent of more vulnerable moments within the vernacular of 70s classic rock, backed with Latin-tinged rhythms and tied together by a dynamic tension that pushes and pulls like the rigors of a tumultuous relationship. Meanwhile, penultimate track “Look Ma No Hands” offers Stewart’s trademark jazzy vocal over a trap beat, seasoned with hints of reggae to offer one ofConfessional’s most intriguing moments.

The emotional apex of Confessional, meanwhile, occurs about midway through, with previously-released single “It’s Not Me, It’s You” lamenting the difficulty of loving someone stuck in the cycle of their own depression. This theme continues on ensuing track, “Amante,” a bluesy, pleading profession whose pleas become more desperate and heart-wrenching as the song progresses.

If you’re looking for the light after that, it seems Stewart has found it on closing track, “Fly.” A resilient and upbeat conclusion to Confessional, Stewart uses “Fly” to focus confidently on the love within herself, and to strive for brighter days ahead.

Track listing
Into the Confessional
Rat Race
No Escape
It’s Not Me, It’s You
Amante
Look Ma No Hands
Fly

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