By: Nick Manduley
Ocean County singer-songwriter Kelli Faith independently released her debut full-length album 21 on September 20th. 21 is filled to the brim with catchy choruses and cheeky melodies bound to leave the listener humming for days after the first listen. Faith opens the record with the emotional number “Sincerely,” which acts as a grandiose welcoming to the next 40 minutes of unfiltered boppage. It’s always great when artists start their albums off with a bang, a couple noteworthy examples being “The End” from My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade or “System…Meltdown” from Enter Shikari’s A Flash Flood of Colour.
The album pushes forward with the catchy mid-tempo tune “Bad News,” which is laden with encapsulating yet simplistic lead guitar melodies and relatable lyrics; once you hear this song you’ll be humming “Man, I really messed up this time!” for the whole day. And I’m not just saying that because it’s exactly what my roommate has been doing for the past week, driving me absolutely bonkers. Faith gets in touch with her rock roots on “Chasing Tails,” which is arguably one of the more memorable songs on the record. Faith asserts herself as the frontwoman she is on “Chasing.”
Tracks such as “Time Will Tell” and “Someone New” are bound to have people dancing with their infectious guitar progressions and vocal melodies. Faith delivers a wonderful vocal performance, painting the tracks with sweet harmonies. However, if we’re talking about dancing, it would be criminal to not shine a light on the songs “Him” and “All Parts.” “Him” was the first single released from 21 and immediately ropes in the listener with that insanely catchy chorus, ending with a powerful cacophony of harmonies and clashing vocal parts. However, Faith keeps the energy flowing as “All Parts” explodes right out of the gate with rippling beat courtesy of drummer Dee DiMeola, who also delivers all the infectious lead guitar on the record. Faith gets in touch with her pop roots on “All Parts,” utilizing dance beats and plenty of vocal hooks.
The record slows down for a bit with the ever-so-relatable tune “Love Myself” as well as “This House” which is easily the emotional powerhouse (no pun intended) on this record. The record pushes towards the end with “Still There” before ending with “21” and “More.” Faith delivers a tear-jerking ode to her late father on “Still There” before switching gears into the title track, which recounts the tale of overcoming of a toxic relationship in favor of a brighter future. We reviewed “More” some weeks ago as it was the second single off the record, but after hearing the full release, it’s clear that “More” isn’t just a romantic country tune with a face-melting guitar solo; it’s also the perfect ending to this little storybook called 21.