Mom + Pop Music
Somewhere in the shadows of modern rock is a netherworld where confessional singer-songwriters become alt-pop divas. If you visit this place, ask for Alice Merton. She is well-known to the inhabitants, for she is their queen.
Following the success of her 2017 EP, No Roots, Merton is starting 2019 on a strong note with her debut LP, Mint. The long and short of it is that this is a great album. Mint contains eleven songs, finely crafted and performed, that could all be singles in their own right. In fact, some already have—two songs from her 2017 EP also appear on the album, namely her breakout hit “No Roots”, and “Lash Out”.
The album starts strongly with “Learning To Live”, a driving blues-influenced rocker with a guitar groove reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. In her distinctive fashion, Alice Merton rides this groove and absolutely owns it. M.J. would definitely approve. Other pop influences are evident on the album, but Merton pays her respects and moves on, presenting the listener with a collection that is all her own.
There are really too many high points on this album to mention them all, but one standout track is the recent single “Funny Business”. This song is bass-heavy and dancehall-ready, full of pop hooks (was that an M.I.A. sample?), and held together by Merton’s sweet delivery of the whimsical melody. More introspective songs such as “Kids” and “Homesick” draw the listener in, at once giving us a glimpse of Merton’s life, and allowing us to reflect on our own. Honourable mention goes to the swampy sultriness in Merton’s impassioned performance on “Speak Your Mind”.
After dealing with early industry struggles and rejection, Mint is a triumph for Alice Merton, her best friend and manager Paul Graewinkel, and producer and collaborator Nicolas Rebscher. With so many strong songs, this album brings to mind the same creative spirit evident in mega-albums of the past that delivered hit after hit. Alice Merton is definitely one to watch. Long live the queen.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ALICE MERTON – MINT