Down the centuries, there has been quite a lot of debate as to what purpose music serves. Many say it is to entertain, to bring light into an often grim world. Others that the purpose of music is merely ambient, to serve as background to conversations, parties and important moments. I would say that music is both, and yet neither. It’s always seemed to me that music shines most when it reaches into the depths of our very souls and touches upon the rough edges. The pain and the suffering we’ve been through.
The purpose of music is first and foremost to heal, and that is exactly what singer and songwriter Olivia Rees is doing through her songs. A highly skilled and versatile artist, Rees sings from a place of great depth, that much is obvious from the first few notes you hear from her. She sings about life, but without glossing over the darkness. Instead, she takes strength from those aspects of her own existence and creates something beautiful. Her music is evocative and highly emotional, reverberating inside each and every listener. It moves you, and perhaps, it even helps you to rise stronger and create something beautiful, too.
A prime example of this effect is Rees’s recently released album, entitled appropriately “Exposed”.
“It always brought me comfort when I heard artists verbalize feelings I was going through in a fun way, even if the topic itself wasn't fun. It allowed me to feel without feeling soft or weak,” says Rees about the writing process behind “Exposed”.
The album features a wide array of genres and deftly combines elements of R&B and Hip Hop, while also blending occasionally soulful moments, but also bringing some definite pop beats to the mix. This makes Rees’s music hard to define or box into any one genre, but it’s also what makes “Exposed” such an appealing and interesting album.
You’ve got songs that go straight to the heart, like “Darker Night”, a track that is largely about abandonment and the lack of trust one is left with after losing someone they cared for.
“I lost myself when I looked for you,” Rees sings during the bridge of the song, highlighting the somewhat disturbing nature of depending on someone else. The song, although one about losing a person, is also about finding support in unexpected places. As the track progresses, we see Rees grow from abandoned and forlorn to strong and self-assured. It’s an emotional, but highly motivational track.
And then, you’ve got more aggressive, energetic songs, such as “Fast When I’m Furious”, an exciting collab between Rees and rapper Mr. DMA. This tune ties to “Darker Night”, but brings a much more light-hearted and fun approach to the whole album, defusing the high-stake emotion invoked by the other tracks.
All in all, “Exposed” is a truly impressive, multi-faceted work of art that will leave you feeling satisfied, yet oddly exposed. In a good way.
LISTEN TO EXPOSED BELOW