Lennon Stella released her 13-track debut album, “Three. Two. One,” on April 24, confirming her place in the music industry as a confident pop-artist and delving into themes of family, heartbreak and growing up.
Originally from Canada, Lennon Stella began her music career in 2012 as half of the duo Lennon & Maisy, with her sister, Maisy Stella. Since going solo in 2018, Lennon Stella has released one EP, 11 singles and been featured on The Chainsmokers’ 2019 hit-single, “Takeaway.” Stella’s experience making upbeat music has allowed her to harness her pop-centric sound on “Three. Two. One.”
“Much Too Much,” the album’s first track, builds its production around heavy-hitting bass lines paired with melodious synths. The track’s vocals layer harmoniously with its catchy rhythm, creating a feeling of depth and dimension.
Upbeat and youthful, “Kissing Other People,” combines airy vocals with minimal drums, working together to create a light and whimsical feel. The honesty of the lyrics, “That’s how I know I’m really moving on // ‘Cause I don’t feel guilty kissing other people,” compliments the track’s simple production nicely.
“Game,” the album’s third track, heavily features xylophones and has a piano progression similar to the Rugrats theme song. While the lyrics, “You like games, games, games // But that’s all we’ll ever be,” offer a more mature take on how dating can feel like a game at times, the track still maintains its childlike feeling.
Darker in tone, “Fear of Being Alone,” layers passionate vocals with playful house music, coming together to elicit a dramatic tone. Instrumentally complex, this track offers digestible and catchy lyrics that I enjoyed: “It’s the fear of being alone // Got me staying when I know.”
One of my favorite tracks, “Pretty Boy,” is the most electropop-influenced on the album, centering around fast-paced drums and multi-layered synths. As the track’s production builds, Stella lyrically digs deeper – “Tell me something that I’ve never heard // And this time would be the first that you’ll be more” – evoking the discovery of depth in someone who is typically noticed solely for their looks.
“Golf on TV” sounds the most lyrically developed, incorporating a quick pace and witty lyrics by JP Saxe, the track’s co-writer. The lyrics, “I’m done with romanticizing // Dysfunction and compromising // You treat me so well, ” describe the feeling of realizing how wonderfully someone treats you compared to how you were treated in the past
Another of my favorites, “Bend Over Backwards,” pairs heavy-hitting drums with eccentric bass and electric guitar. Not only did I find the choice to pitch up the chorus’s vocals interesting, I also enjoyed the distorted piano progression layered underneath.
“Jealous” radiates happiness and free-spiritedness, intertwining cheerful vocals with upbeat production. Co-written by Finneas O’Connell, the track incorporates candid lyrics: “It’s not a game that you are losing // When I’m with someone else and I’m not missing us.”
“Weakness” opens with audio from a home-video of two girls laughing. As Maisy Stella is featured on this track, I can only assume this track is an homage to the sisters’ relationship. The track leads with a solo guitar strum paired with heartfelt and personal lyrics. The lyrics sound like one-big love letter: “But when your eyes are leaking // That’s my weakness // When your smile’s in pieces // That’s when I feel it all.”
Another Maisy-inspired track, “Save Us” incorporates a variety of drums and piano progressions. The intricate track takes a simpler approach with its lyrics, cutting straight to the point: “I love you, always, forever.”
“Goodnight,” the album’s final track, pairs light piano with emotional lyrics that led me to have a good cry. The simple production let me focus on the all-too-relatable lyrics “Please don’t say goodbye, just say goodnight // ‘Cause we know goodbye’s the end.”
Overall, I thought this album was heartfelt, well-rounded and relatable. Although this was my first exposure to Stella’s music, I can honestly say she holds her own as a pop artist. Lyrically, I found this album’s themes of family, childhood and past-relationships very relatable. I am hopeful for the evolution Stella will undergo as she makes a name for herself in the music industry.