Having come out as a gay female country artist and now feeling totally comfortable in her own skin, Brooke Eden’s latest music heralds a new era for her and she is releasing some of her best music ever . A trilogy of releases last year ( including the single “Got No Choice” which was featured by Vogue as one of the Best New Singles for Pride) has just been followed up with her five-track EP “Choosing You” which is out now via BMG/BBR Music Group.
It’s not surprising given the highly personal nature of this collection of songs, which are an account of her journey back to herself, that Brooke has writing credits on them all, several with producer and longtime collaborator Jesse Frasure. She has described her new music as a personal statement of love, self acceptance and resilience with the songs seeing her exploring themes of healing, learning, love, loss and happiness… the writing sessions that spawned them acting as therapy for her.
Brooke’s vocals were one of the stand-out features for me throughout the EP, she is known for being a vocal powerhouse but which is indeed evident here but even more impressive to me is her vocal control and the fact that she sings with such feeling, whether it’s on the upbeat celebratory tracks or the more pensive, reflective ones. I also love the variety of the arrangements, and how traditional country instruments such as the pedal steel feature alongside the more contemporary production. Lyrically, although the songs are very personal in nature to Brooke, they carry messages which are often at the same time universal and really gave me food for thought!
The EP kicks off on an upbeat note as she warns against wasting time and energy trying to win someone’s love on “Knock” (Brooke Eden, Steph Jones, Jesse Erasure). The lyrics cleverly reference Patsy Cline and “Crazy” and she goes on to explain that “you don’t have to knock on a heart that opens up for you”. Watch out for the song’s video which is apparently coming soon!
This is followed by “Left You For Me” (Brooke Eden, Kyle Schlienger, Jon Stone) which was released as the lead track from the project in early June and for me is the EP’s cornerstone. Pensive, slower paced verses contrast with the mid tempo, drum driven choruses as Brooke celebrates leaving a toxic relationship behind in order to become the best version of herself, walking away with her head held high. As she says, “I was looking in the mirror at someone I don’t wanna be”… ” I didn’t leave you for somebody else, I left you for me”
” Comeback Love” (Brooke Eden Jesse Frasure, Sarah Buxton) follows, such a fun and funky track which is an outright declaration of love by someone who is generally happy being alone. Sometimes you meet that special person who you start missing the moment they leave, wanting them back with you immediately… “Instead of reminiscing I’d rather be hugging and kissing”. She can’t stop thinking of them, and has even tried to break the habit using the classic method of the “rubber band on my hand so that I can snap it every time I think of you “. I bet this is a particularly great one to see Brooke perform live!
Things slow down a bit for the deeper, bluesy track “Heartless” (Brooke Eden, Connie Harrington, Lindsay Rimes) , another song that celebrates not only finding love but also finally realising what true love is. And on the flip side she also realises what it isn’t, it is definitely not how she saw it depicted in magazines and films in the past which had made her question whether she was in fact heartless. But she’s now with someone who has unlocked “this thing in my chest” and things will never be the same again. I love the concept behind this song in particular!
The EP closer, “Off The Ground” (Brooke Eden, Cary Barlowe, Jesse Frasure, Brandon Day, Alysa Vanderheym) is a thank you to her new lover for changing her life for ever (“This kind of buzz don’t sober up”) and lifting her to new heights, or as she puts it “I love the way you got me levitating losing my mind”. There’s numerous ethereal references along the way, I particularly like “You got me out of this world, close to Jupiter, girl” which are matched by the track’s suitably dreamy vibe.
It’s an appropriate way to round off her journey and a phenomenal EP, which to be fully appreciated as the body of work it is should be listened to in track order in my view.
I can’t finish this piece without saying congratulations to Brooke and her fiancé Hilary and wishing them all the best for their upcoming wedding and every happiness for their future together on behalf of the entire Belles and Gals team.