2019 Albums

Alice Merton – Mint (Review)

2 years after the release of debut EP “No Roots”, which also became a ground breaking single for Alice Merton’s discography, she’s back with a debut album up her sleeves. Welcome to the world of “Mint.” The 25-year-old already has over 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify and trust me, you’re not going to be forgetting Alice any time soon. The dance-pop queen has an album filled with songs that will make you boogie, and songs that will make you sit, completely relating to it. Notice that every song on the track list is not longer than 4 minutes, meaning they’re all good for radio. Great marketing skill there, Alice.

Indie-pop track “Learn to Live”  is rhythmically wonderful and filled with agitation. A song about facing your fears and not being scared of them. It’s a push in the right direction of looking at life in a brighter way. Guitar power reminds me of a Michael Jackson arrangement – aggressive and not to be missed. Next is “2 Kids”, a song about a personal relationship between Alice and her best friend. Sticking together and sharing experiences with someone who wants the exact things as you do is warming. It just so happened that Alice made a record label called Paper Plane Records with this friend. Instrumentally, the song is simple. As a personal preference, there’s not really anything that jumps out to me in this song. Doesn’t grab my attention unfortunately. 

Well, we already know “No Roots” pretty well. It’s constantly played on local radio stations and that’s completely fine, because, it’s a pretty darn good track. Comparing her early life as “I like digging holes and hiding things inside them, when I grow old, I hope I won’t forget to find them” showcases a momentum of remembering where you come from. Saying that, the song indicates that Alice has no ‘roots.’ She was born in Germany to an Irish father, and a german mother, but raised in Canada. Then moving to England – this must be where she picked up the English Lily Allen twang on her vocals. It’s a song that describes her history. My favourite part has to be when the synths do that mini breakdown near the end, oh boy it’s catchy. Good luck getting this out of your head… again. 

Featuring pitch shifted vocals throughout, making the mix feel slightly humorous. “Funny Business” is a serious matter. The message in the track is Alice elaborating that people assume that artists are promiscuous on tour and incapable of staying in committed relationship. This is a load of… nonsense, and Merton confesses that. Fitted around another simple arrangement, the song is witty but feels a bit average. Next up is a track where Alice realises that she doesn’t actually get “Homesick.” She misses people instead. This track has to be a stand out one for Alice’s vocal range. It really compliments her tone and reminds me slightly of Fiona Apple’s power. I think Alice actually looks similar to Fiona too. Scary. With hints of soul music delivered into a generic arrangement, it lifts the dynamic of the track higher. 

As soon as I hear a rich guitar tone, I automatically think “this song is going to rock”, and it sure to god does… in a pop way. Discovering a new side to herself, “Lash Out” deals with a new spark in Alice’s flame. One of the most well thought out arrangements on the album so far. Contrasted around a down tempo arrangement, the slow grooves in “Speak Your Mind” are to die for. My personal favourite on the album, the bass arrangement is completely dreamy. For a song about silence, it has a big, spacious sound to it. Bit of an opposite effect going on, it’s aggressive and emotional. Speak Your Mind rather than sitting in silence, she explains.

Fitted round a generic chord progression that’s been used a million times before, the subject of “I Don’t Hold a Grudge” makes this track feel so much more real. It’s about a friend of Alice’s who ignored her for a long time, then heard a song of her’s and messaged her trying to ‘jump on the bandwagon.” Some people really are pathetic. A subtle slower approach is occurred in “Honeymoon Heartbreak” that unfortunately, sounds like every other song on the album. I feel that Alice’s vocals are getting a bit repetitive, don’t get me wrong, they’re still effective. It just feels like something’s lacking and I feel it could be a better arrangement. Alice has great songs and a stunning voice, she just needs a more electrifying arrangement on the songs to make it tick for me personally. 

“Trouble in Paradise” escalates to a more dance-pop orientated track. This sounds like the child of No Roots – trying to follow in it’s inspiring parents footsteps but having its own originality. Dynamically, this track builds to something really special. The fuzz effect on the guitar compliments the arrangement to make it feel slightly cowboy ‘western esque… Interesting but clever approach. The last track on the album was released back in September as a promotional single. It’s a high energetic pop infused track. Dealing with stepping back from everything to see the bigger picture in general. A lot of people don’t do that and just jump to conclusions there and then. Well, we know that’s just not the best thing to do.. A serious but lively track to finish the debut album. 

Favourite Tracks: Learn to Live, No Roots, Funny Business, Lash Out, Speak Your Mind, I Don’t Hold a Grudge, Trouble in Paradise

Score: 7/10

P.s; this album is ‘mint’…. sorry I had to.

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