Music

Elana Stone rocks with empowerment on Steely Dan

Elana Stone is a name that is about to be on everyone’s lips…. again. If you haven’t already heard of her, all you have to do is look up her name and the multitude of bands and collaborations she has participated within will get you all the way to at least page three of Google search. She’s an extremely diverse musician with her foundation lying in Jazz music and her new track, Steely Dan, falling more into that trending electro-pop genre that we are all loving getting down and girly to in the club.

Elana Stone

The ever prolific Elana Stone serves up the first tasty morsel of her new EP Kintsugi; the kickass, empowering and genre bending single Steely Dan.

Just to give you some context, Stone studied at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, going onto continue her musical studies at the much loved Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Jazz was her vibe and she was accredited with Best Jazz Artist at the Musicoz Awards back in 2004 and she has won many awards for her Jazz talents since then. By the way, how long ago does 2004 sound now? This chick has been pumping out great music for about 15 years and it seems that there is no stopping her as she continues to twist and adapt her sound.

Her diversity is what makes her most loved, not only by her audience, but by fellow musicians as she has teamed up with a plethora of artists over the years such as Donny Benet, Passenger and Ngaiire. When I say she’s been in a lot of bands I’m not exaggerating – I won’t go on to list them all but her most recent band, All Our Exes Live in Texas, have been touring over the past couple of years and selling out venues all over Australia. This four piece folk band is the epitome of female empowerment; singing sad love songs in the strongest possible way possible. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone singing a sad song when their talent is completely blocking any feelings of pity you could ever feel. They are the most badass girl folk group ever.

Anyway, as you can tell, Elana Stone is an extremely distracting character. You could follow so many threads and find more information and music coming from every angle and wind up where I am now, with a complete waffling mess of an EP review.

Stone’s latest track titled Steely Dan has been dropped as the release of the first part of her EP Kintsugi, meaning ‘golden joinery’ in Japanese (an ancient method of fixing broken pottery with gold – bringing beauty to the imperfections). The production of Steely Dan is undeniably much cleaner than her previous work, recorded in Sydney’s Brookvale and produced by Stone’s long-time collaborator Jack Britten.

With Steely Dan Stone has somehow managed to cross a psychedelic tone with the current trend of female electro-pop. I am an absolute sucker for those direct, straight-forward lyrics that seem so basic yet so hard hitting and relatable at the same time. With such a swirling, intricate guitar sound it’s almost like you crave and embrace the simplicity of the lyrics.

Stone touches upon the longing for a lover that has gone but I’m not so sure that that is the point of the song. It’s almost a “You made me sad but fuck you, I’m actually OK and P.S. I’m rad at music” to whatever dumb dude let her go. Then again, it doesn’t even necessarily sound aggressive, more like a musical emotional barrier put up as a shield between herself and the heartbreak. This is not an angry song nor is it a sad song; it just comes across as that internal battle you have when you get to that point where you know everything sucks but you’re trying to convince yourself you’re okay. By the sounds of it, she is.

The most interesting part within the lyrics of Steely Dan is the constant comparison Stone makes between what she has and what she doesn’t. The loss of her lover see’s her comparing her loss to her possessions; “I’ve got my car, I can drive away but I don’t have a lover to make me stay”. She is torn between the new found freedom and not actually wanting to be completely alone and independent. Yet the chorus is almost her inner strength busting through and telling the emotionally ingrained, separation-anxiety ridden part of her to let it go, something I’m pretty sure we all need to hear at at least one point in our lives.

After listening to Steely Dan over and over and over again, it is such a multi-faceted track and with that winning combination of somber lyrics with an upbeat melody Stone just can’t go wrong. I am so excited to see more and more female musicians that are just so unpretentious and relatable coming out of Australia! I think it’s essential that there continues to be more of this type of music that expresses empowerment yet still acknowledges human vulnerability.

Stone’s full EP Kintsugi is set to drop on April 17th and I cannot wait to see what this magical, jazzy, electro-pop independent lady has up her sleeves for us.

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