Nearly a year ago, Lisa van Kampen walked into our lives under the name Great Profile. She took the moniker in tribute to the great actor John Barrymore. Over the past several months, van Kampen has slowly earned every right to grace the name, as she has impressed time and time again for thoughtfulness, maturity, and spirit. Her tongue is as sharp and witty as Courtney Barnett, Frankie Cosmos, and Colleen Green. Her rambunctious, no-frills guitar-pop bellows of the great Liz Phair. But the one artist she reminds us most is Annelotte de Graaf, otherwise known as Amber Arcades, who has garnered a reputation for her prolific songwriting and contagious style. It is, as such, an honour and a privilege to be asked to premiere her debut album today.
Stress Relief is everything we have come to expect and love about van Kampen. Each of its ten songs is full of heart and soul, particularly on the catchy “Lemonade”, the Mac DeMarco-esque “I Didn’t Wanna Meet You”, and the sincere closer “Lanai”. On the other side of the equation, her dry, whimsical sense of humour shines through on “Happy Hollywood”; the shimmering, love-struck tune “Mustache and Glasses”; and the catchy “True Blue”.
We have to remind ourselves, however, that van Kampen is still in her early twenties with an imagination as wide and vivid as Peter Jackson and a heart that is still experiencing love and heartbreak. “Earthlings” has the native of Dronten, Netherlands looking to the stars and wondering aloud what is out there. The sweet “Indigo” and the melodic “Unparalleled” offer glimpses inside van Kampen’s heart and mind, and they are rare moments of vulnerability on the album.
Hear this tremendous debut album below. van Kampen has also shared a track-by-track commentary of the album.
Stress Relief is officially out today and can be picked up on Bandcamp. Get to know this young woman and gifted singer-songwriter before everyone else. She could just be the next Courtney Barnett, Liz Phair, or better yet the next Great Profile.
Track-by-track commentary of Stress Relief
I like intro songs so I decided to write one. It’s about the way I see the world. There are so many people out there who use religion or their beliefs as a justification for hatred, bullying, war and so on. There are all these rules that we have to follow in order to be “liked” by others. But even though life can be tough, it’s still worth fighting for, in my opinion.
A song about personal love troubles. I’m describing an early Sunday morning that I spent with a person.
About personal love troubles as well. A song about a person you can’t seem to figure out and the best thing to do is just walk away, even though you don’t want to.
A song about feeling lonely, but not being able to talk about it even though you know it’s okay to feel lonely and everyone does.
The way I see Hollywood. Everyone thinks it’s this magical place and if you go there, all your dreams will come true. Hollywood, however, is an incredibly shitty and difficult place. If you want to make it in the entertainment business, Hollywood might seem as the place to be but if you’re not good enough, you are nothing.
“I Didn’t Wanna Meet You”
A personal track about someone who used to be in my life but was slowly killing me. After three years, I was dead inside because of all the crap he put me through.
A song about stupid boy/girl stuff and walking away from the person because it’s not working out.
Exactly one year ago, a family friend got sick and passed away six months later. Everything went incredibly fast, and the six months were incredibly sad. She was the same age as my mom and had been our family friend for 21 years. I wrote this song a few days after she passed away in October. I keep a lot to myself and I can’t really talk about my feelings, so that’s why I had to write this song (it’s really the reason why I write music). I had to get it off my chest.
“Mustache and Glasses”
A song about one of my favorite movie characters Theodore Twombly from the movie Her. I love everything about that movie and Theo. Everyone needs a Theodore.
I’m really proud of this piece of songwriting. It’s a long song (6:18) and it has a lot of lyrics, but I wrote it during one weekend. I had a lot of inspiration for this song and it’s about the relationship between Marissa Cooper and Johnny Harper from the 2003-2007 TV series The O.C. that I binge-watched last Summer.
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