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In a time where the music industry is awashed in electronic and synth-heavy music and overproduced pop, hip hop, and R&B songs, Pauline Andrès‘ The Heart Breaks is a refreshing change of pace. The native of France who now calls Berlin home, Andrès hasn’t reinvented how we listen to music with her new album; instead, she has made us realize how beautiful simplicity can sound like. On The Heart Breaks, Andrès takes us back to times when Patsy Cline and June Carter eased our souls with their Nashville, country sound and acoustic folk, and when Mazzy Starr lulled us into a warm sense of security with their dream folk.
Andrès’ sophomore album, though, is not about romantic nights with a loved one or living a life where daydreams come true. It is an album about a heart-broken woman, who is not defeated by her experiences but instead comes out stronger each and every time. For instance, on the gritty “Drive Like Steve McQueen”, there is defiance in Andrès’ voice, where she calls out to the one who crushed her heart that she will not be broken. Instead, she will find that extra bit of courage to something extraordinary, just like Steve McQueen.
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While the relationship theme is the main focus of the album – on the country ballad “Broken Hearted”, the Mazzy Starr-esque “No Tienes Corazon”, the twangy, Lucinda Williams-esque “If Only You Had Called”, and “If It’s Over”, which recounts a time with a two-timing ex-lover – The Heart Breaks tackles other reasons for heart ache. The opening tune, “Broken Record”, is a confession by Andrès of the loneliness she feels while traveling on the road and how each day is like the rest. It’s a song that immediately puts to rest that touring musicians live a glamorous life.
The subtly haunting “A Reason To Come Home”, which soars with some gorgeous organ and guitar work, acknowledges that for all our self-destructive behaviors and clamoring for independence that home is indeed where one’s heart rests. “The East in Me”, meanwhile, is a romantic note to Andrès’ hometown, whereby her heart still longs for the places of her childhood.
Although the entire twelve songs on The Heart Breaks are of Andrès’ past and present experiences, they are also stories that we could all call our own. They are songs that we can all relate to and make us remember both the times we were hurt and moments when where we found strength and hope. Like Cline and Carter, Williams and Sandoval, Andrès has helped us remember that it is often the simple things that will help us overcome.
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