Back in the 1990s, before her rise to TV stardom, Gwen Stefani was a pioneer of female empowerment, writing incisive lyrics for her band No Doubt about her position as a young woman in a patriarchal world and about the difficulties of romantic relationships with an unprecedented sincerity, especially within the So-Cal alternative music community.
With her debut album Someone New, Helena Deland follows in Stefani’s footsteps, moulding a record filled with inner turmoil and exquisite sounds. She not only shares the No Doubt singer’s taste for sophisticated pop songwriting – which Deland pushes even further away from everyday subject matter and towards something more self-consciously “artsy” – but also a mellifluous and enthralling voice. She’s able to make lines like “I am stuck ‘til I get a hold of / A stranger to remind me I don’t contain the world / It is outside can’t I see, and in it I’m this lucky girl / And how to play my role ‘til I get too old” sound sweet and confessional. Addressing themes like ageism and the impossible beauty standards women have to face every day, Helena Deland gets incredibly close to penning the perfect pop album for the current moment.
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