So where does all the money go? The answer to that question is, inevitably, taxes but what might that have to do with the state of modern pop music. Well, you can’t avoid taxes and modern pop music often has no problem avoiding you so there’s the somewhat tenuous join. Anyway, what has that got to do with “All That Glitters” by Willow Stephens?
Pretty simple really. “All That Glitters” is an example of the kind of heavily produced pop album that everybody and their second cousin can make these days with a little help from technology. Or, at least, that’s the way it seems on first acquaintance and that’s why this one took so little time to escape the gravitational pull of my, admittedly limited, attention span. However, as in all things, what’s for you won’t go by you and “All That Glitters” duly did an orbit and returned for a second shot at putting some sparkle into my listening life.
These songs certainly have the veneer of conventionality applied to them yet, underneath the polished surface lies not cheap chipboard but real wood that evidences itself with some fine grained lyrics that speak of this time and place in a voice that convinces you of the value of poetic expression. This isn’t just literate minor key melancholy either as several of these songs – “Paper Cranes”, “Make Me Late” and “Lightyears Away” in particular – creep up on you and, without even the pretence of subversion, add themselves straight into the soundtrack to your shiny life.
So, while Willow Stephens might sound like many others, she isn’t just another voice in the crowd and those who can hear more than corporate sponsorship would do well to investigate what she has to offer.
Best song? The elegant and eloquent “Paper Cranes”.
The verdict? Like an iceberg, there is so much more beneath the surface.