Music Reviews

“Piano Ballads, Nostalgia and Emotion” – EP Review: Lisa Heller – Is Anyone Listening?

Gemma Cockrell

LA-based American singer-songwriter Lisa Heller’s new six-track EP ‘is anyone listening?’ is constructed of piano ballads, nostalgia and emotion. Gemma Cockrell shares her thoughts.

Heller’s sound is soft and gentle, characterised by subtle piano instrumentals and dreamy, wistful vocals. The slow-pace of the music allows her vocals to shine at the forefront, drenched in sincere and heartfelt emotion. This can be seen on EP opener and title track is anyone listening?, a detailed depiction of struggling with mental health behind closed doors.

These are themes which are continued on spiraling, a song which communicates the feelings of helplessness that come alongside the knowledge that your mental health is beginning to deteriorate and decline. Heller’s desperate plea of “Save me from my lonely mind” is sung with heart-wrenching honesty and genuineness, as she acknowledges her struggles openly and truthfully.

Elsewhere, Heller shows a different side to herself on the dark pop track red flags. Here, she acknowledges her own faults whilst showing awareness that everyone has their own failings and weaknesses. She confirms that she is willing to accept and come to terms with her partners’ flaws, with a feisty Billie Eilish-esque quip of “I don’t really give a f**k”.

She experiments further on turning the news off, which features electronic warping effects on the instrumental of the chorus. As the title suggests, the track explores the importance of ensuring that you don’t get too immersed in the negativity of the world. It emphasises that it is okay to distance yourself sometimes, and to give your mind a break when it all becomes too much.

The heartfelt lyrics tackle feelings of realisation that you have grown up, and the fact that your mindset has changed from when you were a teenager

EP highlight 18 is an ode to teenage nostalgia, radiating retrospective youthful freedom and rebellion from a now matured perspective. The heartfelt lyrics tackle feelings of realisation that you have grown up, and the fact that your mindset has changed from when you were a teenager. The chorus utilises exquisite story-telling, using fairground imagery to depict the mellowing of life as you mature: “Never thought we’d have to slow down on the merry-go-round”.

The greatest strength of ‘is anyone listening?’ lies in its sincerity. Heller is unafraid to delve into the depths of her minds, telling exquisite and realistic stories through her lyrics as she unveils her darkest thoughts and feelings. The piano ballad sound of her music lends itself perfectly to this touching honesty, allowing her to express her emotions in their most raw and unfiltered form.

three and a half stars

Gemma Cockrell

Featured image courtesy of blocks via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @lisahellermusic via No changes made to these images.

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