First impressions are not everything, but they are immensely important. Like meeting a person for the first time, they can determine whether an artist’s music resonates with you, and, therefore, dictate whether one will seek to continue the relationship. When Talia Taxman released her debut single, “Young & Thriving”, under the moniker Rodes Rollins in November of 2016, we were immediately hooked. The song personified grace, beauty, mystery, and emotion in music. This impact of this single made her one of our Artists to Watch in 2017, as we eagerly anticipated her debut EP. It finally arrived last month.
Young Adult is more than we expected. At times stunning and breathtaking and other times assertive and engrossing, the EP is a revelation. It showcases a young singer-songwriter who has yet to reach her peak but has created a near-perfect record. The balance between intimacy and the personal with vivid and imaginative storytelling is akin to a master storyteller. The music, meanwhile, is the expansive canvas on which Taxman paints her stories, and it ranges from the cinematic to the gritty.
The companion pieces, “Oh Dear, Wes” and “Wes Come Back”, reveal Taxman’s brilliance. Together, the songs are akin to reading a modern-day Brothers Grimm tale. On the former, she takes the role of the narrator, following the downtrodden life of a young man named Wes, who was a star pupil and athlete. One mistake by a friend, however, would cost him his future, as he took the blame for a mistake he never committed. On the latter, Rollins is that person who made the mistake, describing her guilt and the conflicting emotions that occur when Wes professes his love to her. The storytelling is mystical, and the music is simultaneously haunting yet euphoric. The songs are pure engrossing fantasy.
The stirring “Big Girls” is Taxman at her most introspective. “I don’t know what Big Girls do”, she yells in a whisper to her older peers. She is seeking answers to questions she does not know and direction on how to react when trouble finds her. The gravity of the situation is more severe than Taxman initially lets on, allowing us to determine exactly what the secret is between “me and you”.
The EP’s finale, “Feedback”, is unlike the rest. It is an edgy and fierce ’90s-inspired, electro-rock number, and Taxman’s voice takes on a different tone. It is more assertive and powerful, expressed with the confidence of a woman taking control of the situation. It’s an interesting closer to an record soaked in mystery and mysticism, but it is a statement of sorts – she has just arrived and won’t be going anywhere soon. With a debut EP like Young Adult, there is no question that Taxman belongs. For that matter, the record represents the arrival of a young singer-songwriter who will one day take the entire music world by storm.
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